SQE News

Law Society flags attainment gap between white and ethnic minority students

The head of the Law Society has raised concerns about the “attainment gap” between white and ethnic minority students, in the exams students must pass to become a solicitor.

According to figures published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, 66 per cent of white students passed the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE1), compared to 39 per cent of black students and 43 per cent of Asian students.

In a statement, Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce, said she had concerns around “the attainment gap between white and Black, Asian and minority ethnic students” as she called on the regulator to “monitor” the situation.

“We welcome the news the SRA has commissioned in-depth research so it can better understand the causes of differential attainment in legal qualifications,” Boyce said.

“The regulator needs to monitor closely whether the situation is worsening or improving with the move to SQE and if so why.”

Attainment gap

All in all, 53 per cent of candidates passed the SQE1 exams this year, with men and women equally as likely to have passed.

Candidates with a first-class degree were most likely to have passed, with 77 per cent of those who had achieved 1.1 in their undergaduate degree passing the SQE1 exams this year.

By contrast, just 8 per cent of those who got a third passed the SQE1, compared to 59 of those who got a 2.1, and 31 per cent who got a 2.2.

Candidates whose parents had previously gone to university were also more likely to have passed, with 58 per cent passing their SQE1 exams, compared to 51 per cent whose parents had not.

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