I provide careers advice

18 December 2017

This information is for people who provide careers advice. It will help you understand how the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) might affect the advice you offer and how you provide support to those interested in qualifying as a solicitor.

Qualifying as a solicitor through the SQE

Below is an example of how a graduate could qualify

Solicitors Qualifying Examination timeline

Solicitors Qualifying Examination timescale

Solicitors Qualifying Examination timeline

We know people need time to introduce new courses and recruitment processes, so we will not introduce the SQE before September 2020.



Gurdeep Plahe

Paralegal, Edenhouse Solutions

Talks about how he might qualify under the SQE


Nick Eastwell

SRA's City Advisor

Creating a level playing field for all would be solicitors


Crispin Passmore

Executive Director, Policy, SRA

How will solicitors qualify in the future?


Crispin Passmore

Executive Director, Policy, SRA

What will the SQE mean for students

Why are we introducing the SQE?

The SQE will mean everyone meets the same consistently high standards through a common assessment for all would-besolicitors.


Crispin Passmore

Executive Director, Policy, SRA

An effective competence statement for solicitors

We have already published a Statement of Solicitor Competence which sets out what solicitors need to be able to do to perform their role effectively, and which provides everyone with a clear indication of what they can expect from their solicitor.

This is supported by our Statement of Legal Knowledge and a Threshold Standard, both of which show the standards for practising and using the title of solicitor.

What we have done

Draft Assessment specification

News release: SRA announces new solicitors assessment to guarantee high standards

Consultation - A new route to qualification: New regulations

Consultation - A new route to qualification: the Solicitors Qualifying Examination

Consultation - Training for Tomorrow: assessing competence

General - I provide careers advice

The SQE is the Solicitors Qualifying Examination, which will be brought in no earlier than September 2020.

In the future, all those wishing to qualify as a solicitor will need to pass the SQE, as well as holding a degree or equivalent qualification or experience, complete a two-year period of qualifying work experience and pass a suitability test.

SQE stage 1 primarily tests candidates' functioning legal knowledge. SQE stage 2 primarily tests practical legal skills.

No. However, to be admitted as a solicitor, you will need a degree (in any subject) or equivalent in addition to passing the SQE. ‘Equivalent’ means a qualification equivalent to a bachelor's or master's degree, such as:

  • a level 6 or 7 apprenticeship
  • a level 6 or 7 professional qualification

If you don't have an equivalent qualification, we may be able to count experience in the workplace as equivalent.

If training is included as part of a degree, then there will be no additional charge. However, there is likely to be an additional charge for the SQE assessments.

We anticipate that there will be training courses that are not part of a degree by the time the SQE is introduced. These have not yet been launched, so we do not know how much these will cost.

Information about the cost of the SQE assessments is not yet available. When we know what the final examinations will look like, then we will be able to offer more detailed information.


We will publish data about the performance of all education and training providers. These will not be league tables.


SQE assessments timings are not yet available. When we know what the final examinations will look like, then we will be able to offer more detailed information.


Sample papers are not yet available. When we know what the final examinations will look like, then we will be able to offer more detailed information.


We would be delighted if you joined our LinkedIn group. You can use this group to discuss the developing ideas around the SQE and the new routes to qualification.

Later this year, we will also be consulting on the regulations that will underpin the introduction of the SQE and our approach to the admission of overseas lawyers and non-solicitor UK lawyers.

We will be inviting organisations to tender for the delivery of the SQE assessments later this year, and will provide more details then.


We are making changes to make sure the way solicitors qualify in the future is consistent, but that does not mean solicitors who qualified under the old system are not competent.

Currently, solicitors undertake extensive and thorough training before qualifying. When qualified, they must undertake a programme of continuing professional development to make sure that they are competent to perform their job roles and provide a proper standard of service to clients.

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