SQE News

What are my training options for the SQE?

With SQE, you will have greater flexibility to choose training that best suits your own circumstances. The SRA will no longer prescribe which courses you should take. Other than a requirement to pass SQE1 before taking SQE2, you are free to prepare for the assessments and complete your qualifying work experience in a way that suits you.

A law degree integrating SQE1 preparation

Some universities will be offering law degrees which include preparatory training for SQE1. For example, the SQE1 training might be offered to you as a third-year optional module.

After passing SQE1, you will go on to sit SQE2. Completing a period of qualifying work experience will help you to prepare for the skills assessment. You may also choose to take a further training course before sitting SQE2.

SQE Training

If you are thinking about becoming a solicitor, and are looking at university law degrees, you should check carefully whether a university is offering an academic law degree, or whether courses include SQE training.

If they do offer SQE training, you should check how much, and whether the purpose of the course is to provide a complete preparation for SQE1, or whether further preparation would be required.

A law degree plus additional SQE preparation

Some universities will be offering a more traditional law degree – one which does not integrate SQE training but does teach some of the subjects which are assessed in SQE1 (such as contract, tort, land law, equity and trusts, criminal law, EU law, English and Welsh legal system).

After graduating from this type of law degree, you may decide to top up your learning for the SQE assessment by studying the other subjects assessed in SQE (for example, criminal litigation, dispute resolution, wills and probate, property practice and business practice).

Some universities may offer some of the additional SQE subjects in their law degree, but not all. For example, they may offer criminal litigation alongside criminal law, but might not teach wills and probate.

When you are looking at university law degrees, you should check carefully which subjects different universities are offering. Some may offer a law degree designed to teach everything which is assessed in SQE1 and so avoid the need for additional study.

If your degree does not fully prepare you for SQE, you could choose to top up your learning, to make sure you are ready to be assessed on the full scope of the SQE curriculum. You could:

  • take a SQE preparatory course for law graduates – this could include preparation for SQE1, SQE2 or both
  • use study materials to prepare yourself for the assessment
  • gain work experience, for example, through paralegal work in a law firm or in-house legal department. This could also count towards your qualifying work experience
  • Complete a graduate apprenticeship.

A non-law degree plus SQE preparation

Having a law degree is not a requirement for qualifying as a solicitor. However, you will need to learn the subjects which are assessed in the SQE. There will be shorter SQE preparatory courses building on a law degree and longer ones for those who do not already have a law degree, covering the legal subjects which SQE assesses.

If you don’t have a law degree, you could choose to:

  • take a SQE preparatory course for non-law graduates – this could include preparation for SQE1, SQE2 or both
  • use study materials to prepare yourself for the assessment
  • gain work experience, for example, through paralegal work in a law firm or in-house legal department. This could also count towards your qualifying work experience.

Qualification or experience that is equivalent to a degree plus SQE preparation

You do not need a degree qualification to qualify as a solicitor if you can demonstrate a qualification or work experience that is equivalent to a UK degree. If you have an equivalent qualification or experience, you may need to top-up your learning to prepare yourself for the SQE assessment. You could do this by taking an SQE preparatory course, or by using SQE study materials available from publishers.

If your previous work experience does not meet the requirements for qualifying work experience, you will also need to gain two years’ experience delivering legal services.

  • an apprenticeship
  • solicitor apprenticeship

You can train through the solicitor apprenticeship route, which includes SQE training as well as the SQE assessments. It typically takes 5 to 6 years to complete, and at the end, you gain a Level 7 qualification (equivalent to a master’s degree). So providing you pass the SQE assessment and meet the character and suitability requirements, you are ready for admission at the end of your solicitor apprenticeship.

Graduate apprenticeship

If you have a law degree, you can join a graduate solicitor apprenticeship programme. This integrates qualifying work experience, as well as SQE1 and SQE2. It typically takes 2 to 3 years to complete. At the end of the graduate solicitor apprenticeship, you are ready for admission, providing you meet the character and suitability requirements.

Other apprenticeships

Other apprenticeships can provide valuable work experience and, in some cases, may help you develop your legal knowledge and practical legal skills. If you complete a level six apprenticeship, the requirement to have a degree level qualification is met. You will need to pass the SQE and may choose to top up your learning to help you prepare for the assessment by:

  • taking a SQE preparatory course – this could include preparation for SQE1, SQE2 or both
  • using study materials to prepare yourself for the assessment
  • gaining additional work experience if your previous experience was not in delivering legal services. Legal work experience could also count towards your qualifying work experience.
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