The SQE: The new route to qualifying

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  • Released 4th Apr 2022
  • Shane Robson
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The SRA has radically overhauled the way in which you can become a solicitor in England and Wales, in November 2021 the first-ever batch of candidates sat one element, the first exam of there being two exams of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).

This video will recap how you can currently qualify to become a solicitor in England and Wales. It will cover more than the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) but will have a strong emphasis on this new route, which replaces the more traditional route, the LPC and the training contract whilst comparing the LPC or SQE.

It will explore the reasons for the changes, according to the SRA and consider the aims and objectives of this new pathway. There will be a discussion on how this could potentially change the careers for those already in practice and how they can become a solicitor from a Barrister, CILEx Fellow, or a paralegal for example.

The video will provide an overview of the SQE assessments highlighting the changes as we go. This ‘chapter’ will be useful to anyone looking to progress in their career, HR managers and practice managers wanting to understand a little more about the SQE pathway and students/learners already on the path to qualifying.

This is the first of three videos that aim to explore the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).

What is the SQE?

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is a new legal route to become a solicitor that will gradually replace the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is the new single, rigorous assessment for all aspiring solicitors, the concept may have been inspired by the Law Society’s Final Examination the predecessor of the LPC. It was the job of the LPC ‘to ensure that those entering the profession were competent to deal with clients' changing need’s and this has a similar tone to the SRA making the changes here, it has stating

‘The standard expected of solicitors in England and Wales is a high one. We have a duty to ensure that these standards are maintained, against a background of a developing legal and education market and an increasing understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of our current training system’.

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) will ensure that all aspiring solicitors, no matter what institution they attended or pathway they took, are assessed against the same high standard of competence.

What are the SQE requirements?

The pathway looks a little different and, in many ways, very similar. The new pathway entails a degree or degree equivalent, the SQE exams, Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) and character and suitability requirements.

Have a question? If you have any comments or feedback on this content, please get in touch.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand what the SQE is.
  • Consider the changes to the new route to qualify as a Solicitor of England and Wales.
  • How the SQE will affect law firms



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Shane Robson

Academic Support Officer • Law Training Centre

Shane is the Academic Support Officer at Law Training centre and a university lecturer based in the West Midlands. He has a First class degree in Law and Practice and a Masters degree in International Law. He teaches students from foundation level to Degree level and also teaches on the CILEx professional law courses.

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