The introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), a single, national licensing examination, presents the opportunity for greater flexibility of study methods, less cost and no training contract needed to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales form September 1, 2021.
The SQE will take effect from 1 September 2021 – learn about it now: it will help you to prepare for the changes that have been made to becoming qualified as a solicitor.
We take a look at the current ways to qualify!
Currently, an aspiring solicitor must have:
A law degree – or a non-law degree plus a postgraduate conversion course called a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). These provide the basics of legal knowledge.
Have successfully completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC). This is a vocational qualification that provides legal knowledge and training in practical legal skills. For example, drafting legal documents, completing a conveyancing transaction and advocacy skills.
Completed a two-year training contract – The SQE broadens the range of settings that you can now undertake as part your QWE, for example, working in a law clinic as a volunteer means that the time spent in unpaid roles is recognised.
Currently, you can still opt to undertake the LPC pathway as set out above. SQE will replace all existing pathways to becoming a solicitor in the UK – including LPC. Those who wish to qualify under the LPC route can do so until 2032.
Complete two years of Qualifying Work Experience (QWE). There are various ways that you can achieve the QWE to fulfil this part of the qualification – see our page here.
Pass the SRA’s Character and Suitability tests.
The other available pathways to becoming a qualified solicitor are if:
You have first qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), and then completed the LPC. There is no requirement for you to secure a training contract as part of this pathway.
If you have a relevant qualification from an overseas jurisdiction and completed the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme. This allows you to become a solicitor in England and Wales.
Using the Equivalent Means route.
The latest guidance by the SRA on routes to admission can be seen here.
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