How to become a solicitor in 2023
In recent years there have been some changes in the process of becoming a solicitor. If you are unclear or want some extra information about the major changes happening, here is what you need to know.
If you were looking to get into a career in law before September 2021, you needed to complete a Legal Practice Course. Now, anyone who wants to become a solicitor needs to pass two Solicitors Qualifying Exams (SQE1 and SQE2) and gain two years of Qualifying Work Experience (QWE). These changes mean that students who study after the 2021/2022 academic year will be able to become a solicitor without completing a law degree. Solicitors can have an undergraduate degree in any subject. However, it is advised that you consider a postgraduate law degree which covers the skills and knowledge that you will need for the SQEs, as this will make it easier to succeed in the exams.
What are the Solicitors Qualifying Exams (SQE)?
The SQE has replaced the LPC (Legal Practice Course) and is the new way to become a solicitor. It has been designed to help increase flexibility for those wanting to become solicitors. As well as the introduction of the SQE, the work-based element of qualifying has also changed – aspiring solicitors now need to complete two years of QWE (Qualifying Work Experience), rather than the previous Training Contract. This gives individuals more opportunity to be able to undertake volunteering roles and placements as part of their qualifying experience, which can be fitted around studies and other responsibilities.
The SQE incorporates two parts:
1. The first section is a series of computer-based examinations. These exams will be used to assess important and specific areas of knowledge and understanding needed to become a solicitor. A Law degree is still highly recommended since it will give you the vital preparation needed to complete the exams successfully. Our LLM Legal Practice course will prepare you for this stage of the exam.
2. The second section incorporates practical skills to ensure the you have a working understanding of the role of solicitor. To prepare for this part of the exam, students studying Law at BCU can undertake a professional placement year to gain experience and further your knowledge of the working law environment. In total, you will need two years of Qualifying Work Experience to become a solicitor. Through working in a legal environment, you will get hands-on experience of what it is like to be a solicitor.
How is the SQE different to the LPC and why is it being replaced?
The introduction of the SQE is designed to make qualifying as a solicitor more flexible and accessible. Trainees no longer need to complete a law degree or law conversion course followed by the Legal Practice course and then a further two years on a training contract. They can instead include volunteering work such as working with our BCU Law Clinic, student placements, and paralegal experience to contribute to their two years of QWE.
How will an LLM Legal Practice help me become a solicitor?
Although you now longer need to have a Law degree or Legal Practice qualification to become a solicitor, undertaking postgraduate study in Law will give you the preparation you need to succeed in the SQE. Our LLM Legal Practice is designed to help you prepare for SQE1. Our expert staff will help you develop the skills and understanding you need to pass the exam. As well as this, you will develop transferable skills that will be needed to help you complete the SQE2. You will study the key areas of legal knowledge needed to become a solicitor, as well as have the opportunity to explore specialist areas such as Family Law, Immigration and Commercial Property. As well as the course content, you will have additional opportunities such as volunteering in our in-house Law Clinic, which will help you build up valuable QWE hours.
Student Content Assistant, final year English student