Solicitors Qualifying Exam - SQE

The SQE is a new system of exams that all solicitors must pass at the point of qualifying. It will replace the GDL and LPC in September 2021, subject to final approval by the Legal Services Board in late 2020 according to the SRA. There are four requirements to qualify as a solicitor once SQE comes into effect in 2021. Firstly, you must possess a university degree or equivalent in any subject (law or non-law). Secondly, you must pass the SRA’s character and suitability assessment. Thirdly, you must pass SQE stages one and two (more details on each stage will be provided soon), and lastly, you must have at least two years’ qualifying legal experience (QLE), also classified as “qualifying work experience” (QWE). 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 LPC. 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 will be assessed by centralised assessments introduced by the SRA, which will be an essential requirement to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales.

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