Solicitor’s Qualifying Examination (SQE) - Law Training Centre

Solicitors Qualifying Examination

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The Law Training Centre (LTC) will provide preparatory courses for the SQE and currently provides Level 6 qualifications for the SQE.

LTC is listed on the SRA website as an SQE training and materials provider.

Do you want to practise as a solicitor?

With the SQE, there will be more flexibility in how you can qualify as a Solicitor in England and Wales!
The SQE provides flexibility in how you can obtain qualifying work experience and complete the necessary preparation for assessment. This will include training that makes it cheaper and more accessible for a wider range of people to qualify as solicitors.
The SQE will take effect from 2021 – learn about it now: it will help you to prepare for the changes that have been made to becoming qualified as a solicitor.
What happens now?
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 – two years of work experience.
  • The only other available path to becoming a qualified solicitor is 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.
  • The SQE, therefore, widens the legal market whilst providing consistency in legal education.
    What happens when the SQE is launched?
    From 2021, if you want to be a solicitor in England and Wales, you will need to do the following:
    1. Successfully complete both stages of the SQE assessment (SQE 1 & SQE 2). These will cover similar areas to the GDL and LPC, respectively.
    3. Have a degree or equivalent
    2. 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 below.
    4. Pass the SRA’s Character and Suitability tests
    SQE Assessment Stage – SQE1 (Functioning Legal Knowledge)
    Examines your ability to apply legal knowledge. It will test your knowledge and application in the following areas:
  • Principles of Professional Conduct, Public and Administrative Law and the legal systems of England and Wales.
  • Dispute Resolution in Contract or Tort.
  • Property Law and Practice.
  • Commercial and Corporate Law and Practice.
  • Wills and Administration of Estates and Trusts.
  • Criminal Law and Practice.
  • The emphasis is on testing how candidates apply what they learn about the law to real life situations, in other words, their “functioning legal knowledge”. Assessment will take the form of multiple-choice questions.
    The first SQE1 exam sitting will be in November 2021.
    You can read more about the SQE1 assessment here.
    SQE Assessment stage – SQE2 (Practical Legal Skills Assessments)
    This part of the SQE examines legal skills such as:
  • Client interview and attendance note/legal analysis
  • Advocacy
  • Case and matter analysis
  • Legal research
  • Legal writing
  • Legal drafting.
  • Students must demonstrate their ability to apply those legal skills across the following five practice areas:
  • Criminal Litigation (including advising clients at the police station)
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Property Practice
  • Wills and Intestacy, Probate Administration and Practice
  • Business organisations, rules, and procedures (including money laundering and financial services).
  • SQE 2 will test practical skills in a range of different settings, for example, skills in advocacy, interviewing or drafting in civil or criminal law areas.
    The SQE will be awarded as a pass or a fail without distinctions or commendations. City firms may ask new recruits to study additional courses or electives.
    The first SQE2 exam sitting will take place in April 2021.
    You can read more about the SQE2 assessment here.
    Qualifying Work Experience (QWE)
    In relation to the QWE, you will need to show that you have completed two years’ work experience in total. In practice, this means that you can accrue the required appropriate work experience before, during or after completion of the SQE course. This offers flexibility in how you accrue that work experience. You are no longer tied to one provider and can utilise more than one provider to achieve completion of this stage.
    For example, you may have worked in a paralegal role for six months. The new approach to qualification may allow for the full 6 months to be deducted from the two-year requirement. This would mean that you needed to complete a further one year and six-month period of work experience.
    What constitutes suitable qualifying work experience is likely to include:
  • Paralegal work.
  • Law apprenticeships.
  • Work placements.
  • Volunteering.
  • N.B. The organisation with which you complete the legal work experience must be recognised as complying with SRA rules. It is important that you clarify this point before starting any work experience. The experience must also be signed off by one of the following:
  • Solicitor at the organisation.
  • Compliance officer for legal practice.
  • A solicitor outside the organisation with direct experience of the student’s work.
  • Degree or equivalent
    The degree or equivalent requirement for the SQE pathway has not been broadened. If you have a degree (in any subject), or equivalent qualification, you can meet the SRA’s requirement. Equivalent Level 6 qualifications include apprenticeships and other forms of work experience in which learning has been completed successfully at Level 6. For example, the Law Training Centre offers the CILEx Level 6 Professional Diploma in Law and Practice. This qualification would meet the ‘degree or equivalent’ requirement.
    Standards of character The Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) has also clarified what they will consider when considering your suitability to work as a solicitor. This is important as the SRA expect certain standards to be met in relation to character and behaviour. More information on this can be found here.
    What happens if I’m already studying for a law degree, GDL and/or LPC?
    If you are studying any of the above before 1st of September 2020, you may continue to qualify through the traditional route or choose to follow the new SQE pathway.
    For example, if you hold an LPC or will have started one before the 1st of September 2021, you could still qualify via the SQE by asking the SRA to recognise any qualifying work experience you have accrued and by successfully completing the SQE2. Read more about transitional arrangements here.
    Widening access to the profession
    The SQE offers flexibility in relation to how you can achieve successful qualification as a solicitor. It also means that law firms will also benefit from this flexibility. For example, if you have worked in a law clinic or a law centre, you can use this experience as evidence towards the completion of the SQE requirements. The SQE will allow you, as the learner, to take control over how you can best achieve successful qualification as a solicitor.
    Following a successful completion of SQE 1, you have six years to complete the necessary two years’ QWE and pass SQE2. You can re-sit the SQE twice during that six-year period.
    The SRA has released the costs of the Assessment Stage of the SQE, the SQE1 and the SQE2:

    Stage One


    Stage Two

    The exam fees do not include or account for any additional costs of required training for the SQE Assessments.
    Are Law Training Centre (LTC) offering preparation courses for the SQE assessments?
    Yes, we are on track to offer our SQE1 preparation course from 1st February 2021.