Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)
Aspiring lawyers can now become solicitors through the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), which took the place of the LPC. The SQE1 and SQE2 are the two assessment stages, however completing the Qualifying Work Experience is also necessary in order to be accepted as a solicitor.
About the SQE
For those seeking to become solicitors, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is the primary entry point into the legal profession. It was introduced in 2021 to take the place of the Law Practice Course (LPC). The SQE is the main route for both law graduates and non-law graduates wishing to be admitted as solicitors or lawyers in other jurisdictions seeking to qualify as UK solicitors. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is in charge of administering it.
The SQE consists of two main evaluations, SQE1 and SQE2, as well as a two-year requirement known as Qualified Work Experience (QWE), which evaluates your legal knowledge and skills. Although QWE can be done at any time, the only scheduling condition is that you must take SQE1 before SQE2.
After successfully completing your QWE and all SQE tests, you will become a newly qualified solicitor, or NQ.
SQE1 consists of two tests that evaluate functional legal knowledge, FLK1 and FLK2.
Each evaluation consists of 180 questions and is administered on a different day, with each day being further divided into two sessions. You will be required to complete 90 questions in each session, which lasts roughly two and a half hours. The two sessions are separated by an hour break.
You will be required to schedule both parts of SQE2 at the same time because it contains both a written assessment and an oral skills evaluation. Using functional legal knowledge is being evaluated here.
The oral exams are conducted in three cities: Cardiff, London, and Manchester. They each last for a half-day and are spread out across two days.
This puts your client-interviewing abilities and practical skills, including note-writing, to the test.
There are four written tests on each day of the three-day testing period. The days are divided into two sessions.
What’s the Qualifying Work Experience (QWE)?
Before candidates for the SQE can be admitted as solicitors in England and Wales, they must first pass the QWE. You must finish two years of work experience at a maximum of four organisations. Work experience, which must be supervised by an English/Welsh qualified solicitor, should aid in the development of aspiring solicitors’ SRA competences.
Should I Take The SQE?
Depending on where you are in your legal profession, there are distinct demands for both levels of SQE1 and SQE2. These demands are laid forth by the SRA.
After graduating from university, the majority of people in the UK who want to become solicitors will look at the SQE, but you might have already earned a degree-equivalent qualification or even have credentials from another region. Some people might be eligible to request an exemption from the SRA.
As a more approachable route into law than the prior LPC route, the SQE was introduced. You have a variety of options when it comes to getting ready for the exams as a result.
By using the advice and resources on the SRA website, you can decide to make your own preparations. It’s important to keep in mind that if you select this route, you will have to find your own resources because no training in related content will be provided. If you want to study independently in order to prepare for the SQE, you might, for instance, want to find individuals who are also pursuing the qualification. With this choice, you can study for as long or as little as you like and complete QWE whenever it’s most convenient for you.
Taking a SQE preparation course is a more common option, similar to the LPC. These courses, which typically last less than a year, provide supported training on the many subject areas covered within the exams. Additional benefits include choosing a programme that includes an LLM.
There are advantages to gaining some on-the-job experience before completing the examinations, so you might wish to space out your QWE.
Leading law firms are still offering training contracts, so if you decide to apply for the two-year training contract, you’ll probably need to take the Solicitors Qualifying Examination. The legal practise course will not be open to anyone who had not taken a place on a qualifying law course by September 21st 2021 as part of transitional arrangements (LPC). You might still need to attend a conversion course (PDGL) even if your degree isn’t in law.
Although each exam has many assessments, the SQE1 and SQE2 are priced differently, and you must pay for each exam at once.
You must reserve your dates separately; the SQE1 costs £1,622, and money for FLK1 and FLK2 will be collected at the same time.
Both the oral assessment and written test could be scheduled at the same time for the SQE2, which costs £2,493.
If you’re enrolled in a SQE preparation course, your training provider may have provided you a voucher that you can use to pay online.
Alternatively, you might be entitled for one of the available SQE funding opportunities.
Having a degree (in any field) or a credential equivalent to a degree is required to take the SQE1. An undergraduate degree, level 6 NVQ, or degree apprenticeship are examples of what is referred to as a level 6 qualification. The SRA reviews each application individually to see if you should be given credit for any work experience you thought qualifies.
Based on an SRA examination of qualifications in the relevant jurisdiction, certain attorneys qualified in other countries may ask for an exemption from taking SQE1. The SRA criteria for the SQE1 are open to anyone with the necessary credentials or expertise to qualify for or be granted an exemption.
You must have taken and passed the SQE1 exams in order to take the SQE2.
Similar to SQE1, lawyers from specific jurisdictions may request an exemption based on the SRA’s evaluation of the nation’s qualifications. In contrast to SQE1, lawyers must also demonstrate two years of legal work experience in addition to relative credentials or experience.