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Thinking of becoming a solicitor? Is the SQE or LPC right for you?

The College of Legal Practice 200By Legal Futures Associate The College of Legal Practice [1]

The route to qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales has changed. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has introduced the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) which will eventually replace the current Legal Practice Course (LPC).

In this article, we have highlighted some of the things you need to consider and common questions around the SQE to ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision about which path to qualification is best for you.

Can I choose to take the SQE or the LPC?

You can now decide to qualify under the new SQE route or take an LPC.

However, you will only be able to pursue the existing LPC and Training Contract route if you have already commenced a law degree, Graduate Diploma in Law or LPC. The cut off for starting these programmes was 31 August 2021. You will then have until 2032 to qualify as a solicitor before the LPC and Training Contract route is turned off. Even if you have commenced one of the above, you may still decide to take the SQE if you wish.

What is the SQE?

The SQE is the new qualification examination for aspiring solicitors in England and Wales.

Unlike the LPC, the SQE is not a course or study programme, but two sets of examinations.

Do I need anything else to qualify as a solicitor via the SQE?

There are four things you will need to qualify as a solicitor:

The LPC or SQE? Things to consider

The SRA have a decision tree [5] which could help you determine which route you can take.

Key facts about the SQE

For more information on SQE assessment dates and locations visit the SRA’s website [6].

What is qualifying work experience (QWE)?

Practical training has long been a part of the route to qualifying as a solicitor. The idea is that real life experience of providing legal services is essential to acquire the necessary skills for practice.

It has always been necessary to complete a period of practical training in order to satisfy the regulatory requirements for entry to the roll of solicitors.

In regulatory terms, the requirements for QWE are simply stated:

If I choose the SQE – How can I best prepare for the assessments?

Do not be mistaken in thinking that the SQE is easy!

Even with a law degree, the SQE assessments will be difficult. It is not only about legal knowledge, but the ability to identify issues and apply legal knowledge throughout the assessments. This may be the first time you will experience complex multiple-choice and oral examinations, so you will need to prepare well in both legal knowledge and examination technique.

Preparation courses are not mandatory, and you can prepare yourself for the SQE examinations if you feel confident and comfortable to do so. If you want a little help preparing for success, we offer a series of part-time and full-time courses [7] which will provide you with the legal knowledge, examination technique and opportunities to practice your interview and advocacy skills before the assessments. You’ll have significant 1-2-1 supervision from both a personal tutor and subject matter experts to get you ready for the assessments and to set you up for a successful start to your career as a solicitor.

We’re so confident in our preparation courses that you can take the course again free of charge if you are not successful in passing the SQE assessment.

Our team are on hand to assist you to consider how and when you want to start your SQE pathway to qualification. If you have any questions or need any assistance, please contact us at info@collegalpractice.com [8]