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Solicitors Qualifying Examination

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is the new, centralised way of qualifying to be a solicitor in England and Wales, which came into effect in September 2021. It is a national licensing examination which all aspiring solicitors must pass to practice law, and will eventually replace the traditional LPC course.

In order to take the SQE, you will need to:

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Why complete the SQE over the LPC?

Cost
The SQE costs roughly £4,000, not including any additional training, compared to roughly £15,000 for the LPC.
Time
Instead of spending a further year in education, the SQE allows a student to complete exams whilst working in a law firm. This provides excellent opportunities to learn for the second exam and build towards the 2 years work experience requirement.
Training
There are a number of SQE preparation courses to ensure the best chance of success. These course range in price, and you can choose the best option for you depending on your specific requirements

SQE REQUIREMENTS

A degree in any subject or equivalent qualification or work experience

Traditional law degree

There is no requirement for a student to study a qualifying law degree, however they may still do so if they choose to. By taking this route, a candidate will be aware of many of the topics that will be assessed in the first exam, alongside developing useful skills for a career in law

A non-law degree

If a student does not study a law degree, they will have to take a longer preparatory course to ensure that they are fully aware of the assessed subjects, and may benefit to a much greater extent from practical work experience.

Equivalent qualifications or experience

- A degree qualification may not be necessary if it can be demonstrated that a qualification or work experience equivalent to a UK degree is held. If the work experience does not meet the requirements for qualifying work experience then they will also need to gain 2 years’ experience delivering legal services. For more information on equivalent qualifications, click here: https://www.sra.org.uk/become-solicitor/sqe/degree-equivalent/

The exams may also be completed as part of an apprenticeship

-> Solicitor apprenticeship
-> Graduate apprenticeship
-> Other apprenticeships

Pass both stages of the SQE assessment

What is included in SQE Stage 1
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SQE 1 tests your functioning legal knowledge (FLK). This is in the form of two multiple choice question exams that are taken over two consecutive days (FLK1 and FLK2)

FLK 1 Subject Areas
– Business Law and Practice
– Dispute Resolution
– Contract
– Tort
– Legal System of England and Wales
– Constitutional and Administrative Law and EU Law and Legal Services

FLK 2 Subject Areas
– Property Practice
– Wills and the Administration of Estates
– Solicitors Accounts
– Land Law
– Trusts
– Criminal Law and Practice

What is included in SQE Stage 2
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SQE 2 tests your practical legal skills. The assessment is conducted over 5 consecutive days and is a combination of written and oral tests.

You will be tested on your client interview skills, advocacy, case analysis, legal research, drafting and analysis, and legal writing. Actors will take part in the simulation, and may leave out details or react emotionally or angrily to comments, as a real client may.

The practice areas in which these legal skills are assessed are:
Criminal Litigation (including advising clients at the police station) –
Dispute Resolution –
Property –
Wills and administration of estates –
Business rules and procedures –

Two years' qualifying work experience (QWE)

The QWE includes any experience of providing legal services, which offers the opportunity to develop some or all of the skills or competencies needed to practice as a solicitor.

Unlike the LPC, the QWE may be gained in placements in up to four organisations, and can be completed before, during, and/or after completing SQE 1 and 2.

QWE can be obtained:
Experience can be gained during or after the SQE, however it must be completed by the time they apply for admission.
Each QWE placement must be signed off by:

If a candidate already has the LPC, this can be recognised alongside qualifying work experience and successfully passing SQE2 as equivalent to a period of recognised training contract.

Pass SRA’s character and suitability requirements

Integrity is incredibly important and is treated as seriously as knowledge and skills. These only need to be mentioned when applying to be a solicitor When considering character and suitability, the SRA will take into account the overriding need to

This is considered on a case by case basis.

Conditions can be imposed on a persons authorisation if the SRA cannot be satisfied that a person is of good character and suitable for the role.
If rejected, can only seek a further assessment if there has been a material change in your circumstances relevant to the SRA assessment.

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