Qualifying Work Experience and professional insight with FLC

By Freedom Law Clinic | qwe | Published on June 3, 2024

Freedom Law Clinic (FLC) offers an innovative approach to Qualifying Work Experience (QWE), essential for aspiring solicitors. This blog post explores how FLC provides QWE, emphasising the unique opportunities and structured support available to students.

The Framework of FLC’s QWE Program

FLC’s QWE program is meticulously designed to ensure students gain relevant, practical experience while working on real client cases. The programe has a strong focus on feedback, meaning students receive regular reports into their practical competencies.

The program is divided into three tiers—Red, Yellow, and Green—each tailored to gradually build and enhance the student’s legal skills.

Red Tier: Building Foundational Skills

Every student begins in the Red Tier, tackling complex historical criminal appeals cases. This stage is crucial for developing fundamental skills in legal research, analysis, and writing. Students are expected to:

  1. Analyze extensive case materials.
  2. Prepare detailed attendance notes.
  3. Apply basic concepts of the English legal system.
  4. Collaborate with peers to meet deadlines.

Supervised closely by student caseworkers, Red Tier work sets the groundwork for more advanced tasks in subsequent tiers. Importantly, this tier serves as a preparatory phase, ensuring students are equipped to handle active cases.

Yellow Tier: Engaging with Active Cases

Progressing to the Yellow Tier, students start working on active cases, including those from partner institutions. This tier exposes students to a broader spectrum of legal work and requires them to demonstrate a range of competencies, such as:

  1. Understanding key case issues.
  2. Identifying practical tasks to advance cases.
  3. Working independently to create case-support documents.
  4. Leading small student teams.

Successful completion of tasks in the Yellow Tier can be signed off as QWE by clinic solicitors, provided sufficient evidence of work is submitted.

Green Tier: Independent Casework

The Green Tier represents the pinnacle of FLC’s QWE program, where students act as active caseworkers on ongoing cases. They work on significant preparatory tasks for cases progressing through the courts, often in collaboration with partner law firms. In this tier, students must demonstrate:

  1. Independence in case progression, including client correspondence.
  2. Advanced ability to identify and address legal issues.
  3. Exceptional administrative skills and maintenance of attendance notes.
  4. Excellence in written communication and legal argumentation.

Green Tier students receive close mentorship from clinic solicitors, ensuring they accumulate the necessary competencies for successful qualification as solicitors.

Diverse QWE Opportunities

FLC’s commitment to providing a comprehensive legal education is evident in its diverse range of QWE opportunities. Partnering with various organizations, FLC ensures students gain exposure to multiple areas of law:

  • Solidarity Sports: Engaging in tort law and negligence cases to support disadvantaged families.
  • Justice for Tenants: Handling land and property law issues, including eviction and housing disrepair.
  • Voice for Domestic Workers: Assisting with National Referral Mechanism (NRM) referrals for domestic workers facing abuse.
  • The Manifesto Club: Appealing Community Protection Notices (CPNs) and supporting civil liberties.

These partnerships allow students to experience real-world legal scenarios, enhancing their academic knowledge with practical application.

Structured Support and Supervision

FLC’s QWE program is supported by a robust structure of supervision and feedback. Each student is assigned a supervising solicitor who monitors their progress and provides regular feedback. Students store their work in dedicated OneDrive folders, ensuring seamless tracking and review by supervisors.

Quarterly check-in meetings are conducted to evaluate progress and provide detailed feedback. Students are required to maintain meticulous records of their work, which are cross-checked by clinic administrators to ensure accuracy and compliance.

Appraisals and Retention

Periodic appraisals are conducted to assess students’ alignment with the Statement of Solicitor Competence. These appraisals involve a 15-minute interview discussing recent work, followed by a report linking the student’s work to the required competencies. Successful appraisals lead to QWE sign-off, enabling students to report their experience to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

After the initial six months, a retention decision is made to determine if the student can continue working with greater independence. Those who do not meet the required level of competence are provided with detailed feedback and retain access to educational resources.


Freedom Law Clinic’s QWE program offers a unique blend of practical experience, structured support, and diverse opportunities. By progressing through the Red, Yellow, and Green tiers, students gradually build their legal competencies, ensuring they are well-prepared for a successful career as solicitors. Through partnerships with various organizations and a robust supervisory framework, FLC provides a comprehensive and enriching experience for aspiring legal professionals.

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