Frequently asked Questions
A person who possesses accredited academic and professional legal training and/or relevant work experience in both ‘Common Law’ and ‘Continental Civil Law’ as approved by the AGL (Academic/Experiential Training Qualifications in Common Law and Continental Civil Law), a high level of proficiency in English (C2) and at least one Continental European language together with the personal and professional standing to be able to give competent and ethically appropriate legal advice and assistance in respect of the laws and practices of both systems to corporate and individual clients in general and/or specific areas of cross-border legal matters to the highest standards of skill, expertise and professionalism.
What is the AGL (Association of Global Lawyers)?
A not-for-profit organisation acting through an incorporated association registered in Spain whose objectives are to provide for the training, accreditation and promotion of ‘Global Lawyers’. The AGL is licensed to use the name, training and assessment models developed and first taught by John Brebner in 2009 at the University of Malaga, commonly and comprehensively referred to as the “English Law Studies (ELS) Course for Global Lawyers”.
Read more about AGL on https://associationgloballawyers.org
The Institute of Paralegals (IoP) is a professional membership body in England that connects individuals in the UK and abroad with the shared purpose of providing professional legal services. Membership of the IoP is by grades based on approved academic and professional training and/or experience. IoP membership is a requirement for registration on the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) that leads to professional certification in England for the practice in all areas of English Law that are not specifically reserved to members of other professional bodies.
The English Law Studies (ELS) Course for Global Lawyers is currently the only course of English Law studies in the 27 members states of the European Union approved by the IoP for its “Diploma in English Law Studies (D.ELS)” and the status of “Approved English Law Adviser (A.ELA)”. Registration on the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) at Tiers 3 or 4 is an AGL accredited Academic/Experiential Training Qualification in Common Law for the purposes of membership of the AGL as a Global Lawyer.
What can AGL’s ‘Global Lawyer’ accreditation do for you?
AGL accreditation is currently the only accreditation that gives explicit recognition to the the academic and professional attainment of lawyers appropriately qualified through substantive dual-training programmes in both ‘Common Law’ and ‘Continental Civil Law’. Membership of the AGL at ‘Student’, ‘Associate’, and full ‘Global Lawyer’ grade is by invitation only.
A student studying the law and practice of a Continental Civil Law jurisdiction in an AGL approved institution who is also attending the AGL’s ELS Course or another AGL approved course of English Law, or a student studying the law and practice of a Common Law jurisdiction in an AGL approved institution who is also attending an AGL approved course of Spanish Law (or the law of another Continental Civil Law jurisdiction) is eligible for invitation to ‘Student Global Lawyer’ membership of the AGL. Lawyers who have qualified in one of the two jurisdictions and are pursuing studies to qualify in the other may be invited to join AGL as an ‘Associate Global Lawyer’. Lawyers deemed by the AGL to be fully qualified in the laws and practice of both jurisdictions may join AGL as a full ‘Global Lawyer’ member.
Do I need to be studying or to have studied Spanish Law to take the ELS Course in Madrid or Malaga?
No. You can be studying for another degree at University or be attending a further education course in any other subject, or simply be living or working in Madrid or Malaga in any field and still be able to take the ELS Course. You will have to attend a 4-hour class once a week for the 30 contact classes between September and June. You will need to dedicate approximately 6 hours a week of further independent study time to keep up with the course and to maximise your chances of securing a pass to the next Level
However, if you are not pursuing or do not already have appropriate academic, vocational and professional legal qualifications and approved work experience in Spain (or other Continental Civil Law jurisdiction) you will not be eligible for accreditation by the AGL as a ‘Global Lawyer’. This is because, accreditation as a Global lawyer by the AGL requires you to be qualified in both systems of law.
Will ELS on its own be of any use?
Yes. If you are interested in taking up any other profession outside the Law or wish to explore new areas of work in Spain or elsewhere (e.g. diplomacy, politics, business, etc.), the ELS Course will provide you with an important Common Law qualification, develop your languages and other transferable skills that will serve you well whatever you do (see ‘Study Programmes’ https://wordpress.com/page/englishlawinspain.org/103)
Will ELS help me become a ‘Solicitor’ in England if I do the ELS Course?
First you need to ask yourself why you might want (or need) to be an English Solicitor if your aim is to practice in a global law context. The current training of solicitors is essentially geared to providing domestic lawyers to undertake the so-called ‘Reserved Legal Activities’ (https://legalservicesboard.org.uk/enquiries/frequently-asked-questions/reserved-legal-activities) and may be too narrow for the requirements and special skills of a ‘Global Lawyer’.
A provider of legal advice and assistance in England and Wales only needs to be a ‘solicitor’ if he/she wants to practice a “Reserved Activity”. These activities are limited in number and none of them have any real significance for lawyers dealing with transactional matters in an international context.
However, as a ‘Common Law’ legal qualification, the solicitor ‘brand’ remains strong, as does that of US ‘attorney’. Solicitors go back centuries and although in more recent times they have been facing growing competition in their traditional hunting grounds, in particular from Barristers, Legal Executives and Registered Paralegals, they continue to provide assurances to much of the British public of professional integrity and legal competence in matters relating to English domestic law. If ‘brand’ is your concern, you will have a good reason to qualify as a ‘solicitor’ and the answer to the question of whether the ELS can help you do that is ‘yes’.
The ELS Course covers all the knowledge and skills areas of English Law that you need to know to prepare for the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). It is currently the only course in Spain that provides an equivalent level of academic and vocational training in-class whilst qualifying you for the Institute of Paralegals’ A.ELA (Approved English Law Advisor’ status) and registration on the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) at Tier 4. Tier 4 PPR registration makes you eligible to apply for a ‘General Practising Certificate’ which officially attests your qualification in England and Wales to provide legal advice and assistance in all areas of English Law that are not specifically reserved for Barristers, Solicitors or Notaries.
Will ELS help me become a US Attorney?
Yes. For a continental civil lawyer wishing to practice in a truly global context, a strong foundation programme in English Law (as provided by the English Law Studies (ELS) Course), will help you move on to further qualify as a ‘US attorney’. Thus, if you felt that registration as a Paralegal did not adequately project a credible enough ‘Common Law’ qualification, going on to qualify as a US Attorney could be an attractive option. It is not improbable that, following Brexit, the brand value attached to being a qualified US Attorney will come to have an enhanced value in Europe overtaking that of the English ‘solicitor’.
For the moment, a locally qualified Continental Civil lawyer who is admitted to his/her local Bar will be able to sit the Bar exams in some States in the US (e.g. California). However, the chances of being successful will be remote without a very solid training in the fundamentals of Common Law such as that provided by the ELS Course. Other States (e.g. New York) require a candidate wishing to sit the State exams to have attended an approved law school in the US or to be already admitted in a Common Law jurisdiction. For the moment, being registered on the Professional Paralegal Register in the UK will not be enough, but being an admitted Solicitor will.
Will the IoP’s Diploma in English Law Studies (D.ELS) and Approved English Law Advisor (A.ELA) together AGL’s accreditations give me a competitive edge in Spain?
Yes. Qualifying in English Law should not be seen as necessary for those planning only to work abroad. As a growing world centre for commerce and business, Spain is very much on the map with Madrid in particular rapidly becoming one of Europe’s ‘global’ cities.
The time may soon come (if it has not already) when it will be considerably more difficult to obtain a training contract and have any real prospects of advancement in a major international Spanish law firm or in one of an expanding group of English and US firms opening up locally if you do not have some recognisable Common Law accreditation. The ELS Court provides you with the training to obtain that accreditation.
Will I be able to manage the work load of the ELS Course whilst studying for my Spanish degree?
Yes, provided you plan and manage your study time. Over 150 Spanish Law undergraduates have done it to date.
ELS requires compulsory attendance at 30 classes of 4 hours each between September and June. Students also need to complete approximately 180 hours of independent study time during the academic year (approximately 6 hours a week) to prepare assignments and for the continuing assessment tests.
Clearly, the ELS course is for high achievers and only for brave and committed students. It can be done, however, and those who have been able to go all the way are now benefitting from their efforts and academic achievements.
If I am a student in the UK, will I be putting my chances of qualifying on the line if I study in Malaga?
There will be little point in leaving the comfort zone of home if your vision is not global. If it is, further scenarios will be worth investigating for the broader opportunities and other attractions they have to offer.
Once you are persuaded that you will not lose out on the training you receive abroad in English Law, it becomes a no-brainer given that the extra language and legal qualifications you will pick up have no match back at home. See our page UK STUDENTS IN SPAIN ( https://englishlawinspain.wordpress.com/wp-admin/customize.php?url=https%3A%2F%2Fenglishlawinspain.wordpress.com%2F)