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Business in England? Consider Becoming an English Solicitor

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on July 01, 2015 11:29 AM

If you're an Anglophile or just in-house at a company that does frequent work with the Brits -- either way, you might benefit from becoming a solicitor in England and Wales. Becoming a solicitor (that's English for "attorney") can help you understand the laws and regulations of England and Wales and can even allow you to practice in the United Kingdom, should the need ever arise.

Becoming a solicitor is actually quite feasible. According to Above the Law, a committed in-house attorney could accomplish the task in a matter of months.

What It Takes to Become a Solicitor

Becoming a solicitor is not much different than joining a bar in the United States. In order to become a solicitor, American lawyers must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which requires the completion of a character and suitability disclosure. Sound familiar?

American attorneys must then take the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme assessment. Consider it a mini bar exam for foreign attorneys. Good news for all you potential Benedict Arnolds out there, though -- the laws of England and Wales aren't too different from those in the United States. Like the bar, the test is in two parts - multiple choice and a clinical examination. The multiple choice is similar in structure and length to a state bar's MBE questions, while the clinical examination focuses on practical skills, such as client interviewing and legal writing, and substantive law, including business, property, probate, and criminal and civil litigation.

The Benefits of a Dual-Qualified Lawyer

Consider becoming a solicitor in a similar vein as being admitted to another state's bar. While it might not be necessary for your in-house work, it can definitely be a benefit. Being qualified for dual jurisdictions shows that you have the competency and skill to advise your clients on legal issues from multiple perspectives.

For companies that do business in England and Wales, or are planning to, having an in-house solicitor can be a great advantage. A GC whose not just familiar with English law but actually qualified to practice in England and Wales is an asset that many companies will covet.

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