Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE)
The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) has now been with us since 2021 and it is quickly becoming a preferred route to qualification as a solicitor.
The more traditional LPC route, leading to a structured 2-year training contract is still the ‘normal’ way that staff qualify as solicitors here at GN Law but, of course, SQE will likely be the norm from 2024 onwards. For those students who had already started following the traditional qualifying law degree/LPC route prior to September 2021, there are transitional arrangements. This is what the Law Society say about those: –
“Our transitional arrangements are designed to give candidates who were already on their way to becoming a solicitor when this was introduced, as much choice as possible.
This means someone already studying or training can continue to qualify through the LPC route, or choose to do the SQE.
These arrangements apply to anyone who, before 1 September 2021, had completed, started, accepted an offer of a place or paid a non-refundable deposit for one of the following:
- the Common Professional Examination / Graduate Diploma in Law (CPE)
- the Legal Practice Course
- a period of recognised training (also known as a training contract)
In the case of a qualifying law degree (QLD) and exempting law degree (ELD), these arrangements apply to anyone who completes, starts, accepts an offer of a place or pays a non-refundable deposit by 21 September 2021 (inclusive).
In most cases, for the QLD, ELD and CPE, the relevant course must start at the latest on or before 31 December 2021.
Anyone who falls within this group will have until 31 December 2032 to qualify as a solicitor under the LPC route, as long as courses still remain available.”
For more information on how to become a solicitor, please read the information on the Law Society’s website.
To be eligible to qualify through the SQE, you will need to:
- have a degree or the equivalent
- pass the SQE1 exam
- pass the SQE2 exam (you must have passed SQE1 first)
- complete two years of qualifying work experience (QWE) (foreign lawyers are exempt). and
- satisfy the SRA character and suitability requirements (at the point of admission and moving forward)
So far as GN Law are concerned, the vast majority of our paralegals are already on the LPC route and so we are still very much structured in terms of LPC and training contracts currently. This will clearly have to change and we have already had conversations with some of our paralegals about the SQE and are developing an approach to offering qualification via that route. However, in line with the requirement for 2 years QWE, and due to the needs of the business, we are likely to retain what is, in effect, a 2-year fixed term, structured training period.
Please explore our careers section to find out about our most recent updates and current vacancies. At GN Law, we take pride in offering training and development opportunities that have enabled many individuals to progress from paralegal roles to senior positions, such as Associates, Heads of Department, and Directors.