Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Is the SQE harder than the LPC? - Law Training Centre
Back to News List

7 June 2024

Is the SQE harder than the LPC?

Although the Legal Practice Course (LPC) route is coming to an end, many aspiring solicitors are still making the choice between this and the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). But of course, that begs the question: is the SQE harder than the LPC?


LPC: The Traditional Route

For years, the LPC had been the only option for those looking to qualify as a Solicitor of England and Wales. This postgraduate course aims to equip aspiring solicitors with the practical skills and knowledge to thrive in legal practice, covering a range of topics including contract law, property law and criminal law.

The requirements for this route include the need for a law degree or Common Professional Examination and completion of a two year period of recognised training (also known as a training contract).

In terms of the assessments, the LPC contains a mixture of open-book assessments, oral exams and essay-based, problem-solving questions.


SQE: The New Route

In comparison, the SQE represents a new model for solicitor qualification, offering a much more accessible route for those looking to enter the legal profession. Introduced in September 2021, the SQE was created by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to ensure consistency and accessibility in the qualification process.

Differing from the LPC, this route therefore does not require a law degree, but instead asks for a degree in any subject or equivalent Level 6 qualification, allowing aspiring lawyers from a wider variety of backgrounds to qualify. On top of this, it also has very different practical experience requirements, needing 2 years of qualifying work experience (QWE) which can be gathered from up to four different organisations via part-time or full-time work. It also does not need to be completed within a traditional law firm via a training contract.

The SQE assessments are comprised of two stages: SQE1 and SQE2. SQE1 tests learners’ understanding of Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK) through multiple-choice questions that test how you can apply legal knowledge to practical situations. SQE2 is divided into oral assessments and written assessments, where learners will need to demonstrate that they can apply fundamental legal principles in skills-based situations.


So, is the SQE harder than the LPC?

All of this information is of course useful, but it doesn’t give us a definitive answer to our question…

Unfortunately, the answer is not as straightforward as you might think. Both the LPC and SQE present unique challenges and advantages, and the ease of study will be dependent on each learner’s background, aspirations and lifestyle.

Before jumping into your qualification, you might want to consider:

  1. Time and cost: The LPC has a longer duration and cost, which might make qualification much more difficult for those wanting to qualify quickly and affordably. Plus, it will soon be coming to an end, so it might not be best to invest all of your time into this pathway this late on. In comparison, the SQE’s flexible structure and lower cost may make the process of studying and qualifying much more achievable for you, especially if you have a busy working and/or personal life.
  2. Preparation courses: The LPC is well established and has a good track record, which may draw many learners towards this pathway. However, there is now a wide range of SQE preparation courses available (check out our SQE prep courses here), many of which offer much higher levels of support than the traditional LPC courses.
  3. Work experience: The practical requirements can really make all the difference to successfully qualifying. For those that already have a training contract, the LPC may be a better route for you, as you will easily complete this requirement. However, for those who already have experience in the legal sector or those who are looking to take on part-time or voluntary work whilst studying, the SQE’s QWE options may be much more appealing. With the flexible nature of QWE, this will often better suit those looking to qualify without an LPC training contract and will make your time studying much more manageable.


Ultimately, both pathways lead to the same destination: becoming a qualified solicitor. So, it’s important to take into consideration all of the factors that will impact your studies to make sure you find the right route for you, not just ‘which pathway is harder’.

If you would like to talk through your options and find out more about qualifying flexibly, our friendly Student Services Team is always on hand to speak with you. You can contact us by emailing [email protected] or by calling 0330 088 8495.

Back to all news

Sign up to the latest news from Law Training Centre