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sqe The SQE Explained

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is being phased in to become the new centralised way to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. It will eventually replace the Legal Practice Course (LPC) route to practice.

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With a range of SQE courses, locations and flexible study options, we will prepare you for your career as a solicitor, as well as SQE exam success.

Receive four weeks of guaranteed Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) within our Legal Advice Centre and put theory into practice working on real-life cases.

Your route to become a solicitor

If you want to become a solicitor, you should know that the route to qualifying is changing, with the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examinations (SQE). The transition from the Legal Practice Course (LPC) route to the SQE route will be complete by the end of 2032.

We've developed a range of courses that will prepare you for a career as a solicitor, as part of the new SQE qualification route, and set you up for success.

Alternatively, you can still continue with the LPC route if you completed, started, accepted an offer, or paid a non-refundable deposit for one of the following by 31 August 2021:

  • a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) / the Common Professional Examination
  • our MA Law
  • the Legal Practice Course (LPC)
  • a period of recognised training (also known as a training contract)


For a qualifying law degree (QLD) and exempting law degree (ELD), such as our LLB, you must have completed, started, accepted an offer or paid a non-refundable deposit by 21 September 2021.

In most cases, for the QLD, ELD and CPE, the relevant course must have started at the latest on or before 31 December 2021.

If you have already started a qualifying law degree, GDL or training contract there are transition arrangements in place until 31 December 2032 to qualify as a solicitor under the current routes, as long as courses still remain available.

 

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supportCareers & Employability

Get the work experience and employability support you need to start your career as a solicitor. You’ll receive four weeks guaranteed Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) within our Legal Advice Clinics if you are studying our LLM Legal Practice (SQE1&2) or MA Law (SQE1). You’ll also receive access to Pro Bono opportunities, as well as mentoring and leadership training. Our Employability Team will advise you, help with job applications and placements, and prepare you for interviews so you’ll enter the job market in a strong, competitive position.

Find out which course The University of Law recommends for you

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You may be uncertain about which course is best for you. We’ve put together a useful tool to help you understand the different options available at The University of Law and make the best choice for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’re here to support you throughout the transition from the LPC to SQE, and help you find the right course for your needs and aspirations. Take a look at some commonly asked questions and get in touch if we can help further, by emailing [email protected].

The SQE is the centralised assessment for anyone who wants to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. It is part of a new, four-stage route to becoming a solicitor, introduced in 2021. To qualify through the SQE route you'll need to:

  • Have a degree (or equivalent) in any subject
  • Pass SQE1 and SQE2 assessments*
  • Undertake a minimum of two years Qualifying Work Experience (QWE)
  • Show you are of satisfactory character and suitability

*Some exemptions apply. Please visit the SRA website form further information on the SQE assessment exemptions.

The SQE has been divided into two parts – SQE1 and SQE2.

In SQE1 you will be tested on ‘functioning legal knowledge’ which tests your application of law based on realistic client-based scenarios in multiple choice questions. The assessments will cover subjects you will have studied on a law degree or a conversion course, as well as the vocational practice areas in stage 1 of the previous LPC route. There will be two lengthy multiple choice papers of 180 questions each, covering all aspects of the SQE1 syllabus. You must pass SQE1 before being eligible to sit the SQE2 assessments.

In SQE2 you will be tested on the practical legal skills required for practice, including:

  • Interviewing (with written attendance note/legal analysis)
  • Advocacy
  • Legal research
  • Legal drafting
  • Legal writing
  • Case and matter analysis

SQE1 and SQE2 are centralised assessments introduced by the SRA and are not examined by The University of Law. These assessments are an essential requirement to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. The LPC is a course with its own individual assessments set by The University of Law and accredited by the SRA.

There is no specific SQE course as such, but there are important topics that you’ll need to study in order to pass the assessments. We offer a range of SQE courses to prepare you for the SQE assessments, as well as your future career as a solicitor.

During the transitional period between LPC and SQE, there are a number of criteria which will determine whether you have to sit the SQE assessments in order to qualify as a solicitor, or if you can still take the LPC.

If you started, completed, accepted an offer for, or paid a non-refundable deposit for one of the following courses by 31 August 2021, then you can choose between studying the LPC and the SQE - both are open to you:

  • Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or Common Professional Examination (CPE)
  • MA Law
  • A period of recognised training (also known as a training contract)

For a qualifying law degree (QLD) and exempting law degree (ELD), such as our LLB, you must have completed, started, accepted an offer or paid a non-refundable deposit by 21 September 2021, in order to still choose the LPC route.

If the above requirements for the LPC don’t match your qualifications background, you’ll need to progress through the new SQE route.

Not sure which route is right for you? Get in touch with our team by emailing [email protected] or call 0808 253 7683 for advice.

No, if you choose to qualify as a solicitor via the SQE route, you will not be required to complete a training contract. However you will need to complete two years of QWE instead.

Under the new route you will need to complete a minimum of two years’ QWE before you can qualify as a solicitor.

QWE is similar to a training contract and can be completed at any point during the qualification process (although it is anticipated that most students will complete this after SQE1).

QWE may be completed with up to four different legal employers. The type of work which qualifies as QWE includes placements while studying for your degree, time spent as a paralegal or working in a law clinic, as well as working for a two year period within a single law firm.

All QWE is signed off by the legal employer, who must be a solicitor, and is usually also the compliance officer.

If you have already completed part of the required QWE, such as through a Pro Bono placement, it will be up to individual law firms to decide how they accept your previous work experience. On obtaining QWE at a law firm, you might be required to complete the entire two year period of QWE with them, if that is what they require for practice at that firm.

To help you progress your legal training and prepare you for your career as a solicitor, we’re offering four weeks guaranteed QWE within our Legal Advice Centre to our LLM Legal Practice (SQE1&2) and MA Law (SQE1) students. Find out more about our careers and employability support.

You can book your assessments directly with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). To book onto one of our SQE courses, visit the page for the course you're interested in.

In addition to tuition fees, students will pay exam fees directly to the SRA. The total cost for taking both SQE assessments is currently £3,980 for assessments before October 2022.

  • SQE1: £1,558 (increasing to £1,622 for assessments from January 2023) for the two examinations, consisting of 180 questions each, testing functioning legal knowledge.
  • SQE2: £2,422 (increasing to £2,493 for assessments from October 2022) for the written and oral tasks, testing both practical legal knowledge and skills, including advocacy, client interviewing (with written attendance note/legal analysis), legal research, legal writing, legal drafting, and case and matter analysis.

You will sit your SQE assessments at Pearson VUE test centres in the UK and internationally. For details on how to book, pay and receive your results for your SQE assessments, as well as request any reasonable adjustments, please visit the SRA website.

To re-sit the assessments from October 2022, the fees are as follows:

  • SQE1: £811 to re-sit either the FLK1 or FLK2 exam, or the full SQE1 fee of £1622.
  • SQE2: full SQE2 fee of £2493.

This information is correct as of July 2022. Check the SRA website for the most up-to-date information.

Yes. If you have chosen to study the LPC during the transitional period, you will be able to sit the SQE exams in the future if you wish. Although this is unlikely to be necessary if you pass the LPC as you can continue to qualify under the current route.  

If you have chosen to study the GDL or MA Law, you will be able to select either route on completion of your programme. 

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Webinar: SQE or LPC

In this webinar you’ll find out about the different routes available to qualify as a solicitor and how to decide which route is best for you and your career.

This is the transcript of the webinar that was recorded in October 2020.

Watch webinar

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Our SQE Courses

Whether you’re a law or non-law graduate, want to study full-time, part-time, on campus or online, we have the right course for you. We offer a wide range of SQE courses from Master’s with SQE1 and SQE2 included, to short revision courses to help you get ready for your SQE exams.

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Our SQE Careers & Employability Support

Our Employability Service will help you to achieve your career and work experience goals. From support with job applications and preparation for interviews, to four weeks guaranteed qualifying work experience (QWE) opportunities and mentoring, we’ll ensure you’re fully prepared for your future career as a solicitor.

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