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Reddit Roundup: May 2024

Our roundup aims to answer the most FAQs on Reddit. This month, we cover questions about qualifying to become a solicitor.

By April Baniqued. Published 31 May 2024.

Here are the questions:

  1. What is the step-by-step process of becoming a solicitor?
  2. What counts as qualifying work experience (QWE) outside the UK for aspiring solicitors?
  3. Can you bring water bottles to the SQE exam?

1. What is the step-by-step process of becoming a solicitor?

There are two routes available to become a solicitor: The LPC (Legal Practice Course) and the SQE (Solicitors Qualifying Examination).

The LPC is a postgraduate law course and the final academic stage to become a qualified solicitor. It is being phased out and replaced by the new SQE route. It will be available for those who have already started a qualifying law degree (QLD), PGDL, MA Law or training contract on or before 31 December 2021. If you’re fall under these transitional requirements, you will have until December 2032 to qualify as a solicitor.

The SQE is the new centralised way to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. It is expected to be the only source of legal training by 2026.

The image below shows the step-by-step process for each route.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the terminology…

  • Training contract: This is a two-year period of practical training with a law firm. Some law firms will pay for your LPC/PGDL if they offer you a training contract. Larger firms typically fill training places two years in advance. If you’re studying for a law degree, it’s best to start applying during the last term of your second year. If you’re studying for a non-law degree, it’s best to start applying in your last year. Smaller firms typically do not recruit so far in advance so you can apply to these during your LPC.
  • SQE1 assessment: This spans over two days. These tests are focused on examining your functioning legal knowledge (FLK). It is made up of two parts FLK1 and FLK2, both structured as specialised multiple-choice questions. You can see the topics for each part on the SRA page. Once passed, the SQE2 follows.
  • SQE2 assessment: This spans over five days. These tests are focused on examining your practical legal skills. It is made up of oral and written tasks. Subjects include interviewing, legal writing and case matter analysis. You can see the full topics on the SRA page.
  • Two years’ QWE: This is any experience where you provide legal services. It is to help develop the competencies needed to practice as a solicitor. These experiences can be paid or voluntary. We cover more about the QWE in our April Reddit Roundup.

2. What counts as QWE outside the UK for aspiring solicitors?

If you live abroad/overseas and wish to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales, you can do so through the SQE route. The SRA has the same requirements for both international and native students.

Candidates will need to complete two years’ worth of full-time QWE or equivalent. You can take some or even all your QWE in foreign jurisdiction. What you do need to note is that you must have an English-qualified solicitor sign off your QWE for it to count. The QWE does not need to be done in one block. You can have a maximum of four separate organisations.

It’s important to carefully pick your QWE. Here are some things to consider, all of which we have covered in our April Reddit Roundup:

  • What role do you want?
  • Can you use current/past work experience?
  • Does the experience qualify for QWE?
  • Where do I search for QWE?

3. Can you bring water bottles to the SQE exam?

Water bottles are not allowed in the assessment room, but candidates will be able to leave the room to get water during the exam. The way this is done depends on the assessment centre.

Some centres will give you an assign you a locker to keep your water bottle, some will have a table where all candidates’ bottles are placed, and some may have a water fountain you can use.

No matter the centre, it is worth bringing a filled water bottle with you just in case. This must be clear/see-through with no labels. It is best to bring a big bottle, to avoid losing time trying to find the area to refill your bottle.

Other useful tips to keep in mind when preparing for the assessment centre are:

  • Don’t forget your two forms of ID that must be stipulated by the SRA.
  • Arrive well in time. It is better to be early so you can find the centre and account for any possible scenarios like getting lost, struggling to find parking and being stuck in traffic.
  • Wear something comfortable. Physical comfort can often be overlooked. You will be sitting for most of the day, so it’s important to wear something relaxing to avoid being distracted by discomfort. There is no need to wear a suit.
  • Bring a cardigan or hoodie. All centres will have air conditioning but it is worth bringing an extra layer in case the temperature is not to your liking.

 

For more information and support, head to our SQE Explained page or download our SQE guide.