Updated 16 June 2021
A qualified lawyer is someone who holds a legal professional qualification which allows them to practise in England and Wales or another jurisdiction.
From September 2021, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) will be the single, rigorous assessment for all aspiring solicitors.
After this date, all qualified lawyers will need to do the following to become a solicitor of England and Wales:
- have a degree in any subject or an equivalent qualification or experience
- pass the SQE1 and SQE2 assessments, unless your qualification has an agreed exemption or you wish to apply for one
- meet our character and suitability requirements.
You are not required to do qualifying work experience, as we will recognise your existing qualification and experience. You also no longer need to be in a recognised jurisdiction.
If a qualified lawyer is granted an exemption from SQE2, we may also require them to demonstrate their English or Welsh language competence.
Find out more in our approach for qualified lawyers.
If you have already sat some or all the QLTS assessments, find out if you can continue to qualify through this route.
If you are a solicitor qualified in Scotland, you are exempted from sitting the SQE2 assessment. You would need to apply for this exemption before applying for admission.
You can also apply for further SQE1 assessments exemptions.
If you have passed the QLTS MCT
If you have passed the MCT this not equivalent to passing the SQE1. Therefore, you do not qualify for the agreed exemption for SQE2.
Unlike the MCT, SQE1 includes the procedural subjects of Business Law and Practice, Wills and the Administration of Estates, Property Practice, Dispute Resolution and Criminal Practice. This means that candidates who pass the MCT need to progress to the OSCE (or SQE2) to be assessed in these subjects.
Candidates who qualify through SQE are tested across the full range of topics we require solicitors of England and Wales to know in SQE1. Any agreed exemption for SQE2 is based on a candidate being assessed through SQE1 and their practice rights being the same as a solicitor.
If you have qualifications, or experience, over and above your Scottish qualification in the procedural subjects for English and Welsh law (or equivalent), and you have passed the MCT, please email us for more information.
Solicitors of Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland are exempt from the SQE assessments. You do not need to apply for these exemptions. Find out more.
Please find out how you can qualify as a solicitor.
You have two choices if you have the LPC:
Qualifying through the SQE as a qualified lawyer
The LPC does not give you an agreed exemption from any SQE assessment. This is because the SQE covers similar subject areas to the LPC but is assessed at a higher standard.
The SQE is assessed at a level of a newly qualified solicitor. Therefore, when someone has passed SQE2, they can apply for admission (subject to meeting our other admissions requirements). Whereas the LPC assesses a candidate's legal knowledge and legal skills at the point of starting a period of recognised training (training contract) – typically two years before admission as a solicitor.
If you choose to qualify through the SQE, you could use your LPC as evidence if applying for any exemptions, together with other qualifications and work experience.
Qualifying as a LPC graduate
Even though you are a qualified lawyer, you could instead choose to qualify as a solicitor through the LPC route up until 2032.
If you took this option, you would normally need to do a period of recognised training (training contract). However we can recognise two years' qualifying work experience (this needs to be confirmed by a solicitor of England and Wales) and passing the SQE2 assessment as equivalent to a period of recognised training.