The New Route to Qualify as a Solicitor

By Georgina Haley

From a young age I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in law. Studying law at sixth form gave me a taster of simple legal concepts and a solid foundation prior to starting my undergraduate Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree at Nottingham Law School. In my last year of university, I had a decision to make – I could either qualify a solicitor via the traditional route (the Legal Practice Course then a two-year training contract) or by the new route of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (‘SQE’). I have chosen the new route of the SQE, and I am currently studying for the SQE1 exam as a Trainee Solicitor here at Else Solicitors.

What is the SQE?

The SQE is the new route to qualifying as a Solicitor in England and Wales and was Introduced by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) in September 2021.

To qualify via SQE, candidates need to:

  • Have a degree in any subject or equivalent level 6 qualification.
  • Pass both SQE1 and SQE2.
  • Complete two years’ full-time (or equivalent) qualifying work experience.
  • Pass the SRA character and suitability requirements.

The SQE is split up into two assessments – SQE1 and SQE2. SQE1 is based on functioning legal knowledge, and is made up of two five-hour multiple choice exams testing knowledge on twelve areas of law. SQE2 is based on practical legal skills and knowledge and is examined by twelve written assessments and four oral assessments. These assessments are designed to simulate a normal working day of a solicitor and include drafting documents, advocacy and taking instructions from a client.

Why I chose the SQE.

Leaving university, I knew that I wanted to gain hands on experience within a law firm. Following the SQE route to qualification allows trainees to obtain two years of qualifying work experience which includes any work providing legal services as defined within The Legal Services Act 2007 such as working as a paralegal and now my work as a Trainee Solicitor.

Why Else Solicitors?

I was extremely pleased to find out that Else were going to help me with my journey to becoming a Solicitor via the SQE. Else have been incredibly supportive with my studies and qualifying work experience. I know that I can always approach any colleague with questions and help will be provided from someone with a wealth of experience.  Since joining Else my knowledge regarding all aspects of property has massively increased and I am looking forward to learning more throughout my qualifying work experience. Lots of hard work and dedication is ahead of me, but I know that I will be helped all the way by Else up to my qualification as a Solicitor and afterwards.

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