With the new regime in effect next week, Ciara Fitzgerald, a student at the University of Edinburgh, summarizes the main changes to come
From September 1, 2021, the Lawyers Qualifying Examination (SQE) will be phased in, becoming the new standardized assessment to qualify as a lawyer in England and Wales. Here are some key points for students going forward:
1. The SQE is one of the four new requirements to qualify as a lawyer
Passing the two-part assessment is one of the four requirements set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to qualify as a lawyer. The other three being: a diploma or equivalent qualification; two years of qualifying professional experience (QWE); and pass the character and aptitude requirements of the SRA.
2. No law degree required
Unlike the Legal Practice Course (LPC), the SQE is open to students with a diploma or equivalent qualification from any university education. Thus, the SQE might appeal to those who are unsure of wanting to obtain a law degree and allows more flexibility, as non-LLB holders would have to take a conversion to law course as part of the LPC path. .
3. SQE removes the requirement of a training contract
Applicants will need to complete two years of QWE to qualify as a lawyer. While the traditional training contract requires students to train for two years in a law firm, the QWE is much more flexible and allows individuals to work in up to four different organizations, including law firms. , internal teams and legal centers.
4. The SQE is more flexible in terms of timing
The SQE course is designed to be more flexible and can be completed in stages. In addition, individuals do not need to complete all four requirements in a specific order, they are free to choose when it suits them. For example, the QWE can be organized before, alongside or after a candidate’s SQE studies and exams.
5. The SQE is structured in two evaluations
The first part, aptly named SQE1, tests functional legal knowledge in a variety of “real-life” scenarios in different practice areas. It consists of two exams lasting ten hours and consisting of 180 multiple choice questions with best single answer per assessment. The second stage of the assessment, known as SQE2, assesses the practical skills required for legal practice, including interviews, advocacy, legal research, etc.
6. Introduction of standardized tests
The SQE was created to ensure that lawyers are screened through a single, standardized assessment. The LPC, although it is ensured that the exams are similar, is not managed by a single governing body. Each candidate must pass these exams, regulated by the SRA and set by the supplier Kaplan.
7. Do you need a preparation course?
Although not mandatory, applicants are strongly recommended to complete an SQE preparation course, offered by various training providers. These can range from light refresher courses for law graduates to in-depth courses for non-graduates. The Law Training Center, for example, offers a 15-month self-paced SQE1 preparation course that gives students access to online libraries (including Thomson Reuters Practical Law), comprehensive learning materials, exam papers and a personal academic coach.
8. Cost – is the SQE cheaper?
SQE should be much cheaper than LPC. The total fee for taking both assessments will be £ 3,980. This amount does not include the costs of preparatory courses which will be an additional cost set by the various training providers. Law Training Center offers SQE 1 and 2 prep courses for just over £ 6,000, bringing the total cost to just over £ 10,000, almost half the most expensive LPC on the market.
9. Have you already started your legal training?
If you started a LPC diploma or training before September 1, 2021, you can continue to qualify. Additionally, in order for a CILEx member, practitioner or licensed legal framework to qualify as a lawyer, you only need two of the four requirements: the SQE and the personality and performance assessment. aptitude.
10. Requirements to pass the SQE?
There is no entry requirement for you to pass the SQE1 assessment. However, to pass SQE2, you must have passed SQE1. Individuals are limited to three attempts for each exam over a six-year period and therefore a prep course would not be wasted given the high costs and stakes.
To learn more about SQE and upcoming developments, see the full guide from the Law Training Center:
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