Possible SQE training options

August 2020

To qualify through the SQE, candidates will need:

Under SQE, candidates will have greater flexibility to choose training that best suits their own circumstances. We will no longer prescribe which courses candidates should take. Other than a requirement to pass SQE1 before taking SQE2, candidates are free to prepare for the assessments and complete their qualifying work experience in a way that suits them.

Examples below show what new training options might be available to prepare candidates for the SQE assessment. These are indicative only. We expect and encourage additional innovative routes.

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Some universities will be offering law degrees which include preparatory training for SQE1. For example, the SQE1 training might be offered to students as a third-year optional module.

After passing SQE1, candidates will go on to sit SQE2. Completing a period of qualifying work experience will help candidates to prepare for the skills assessment. Some might also choose to take a further training course before sitting SQE2.

Students who are thinking about becoming a solicitor, and are looking at university law degrees, should check carefully whether a university is offering an academic law degree, or whether courses include SQE training.

If they do offer SQE training, students should check how much, and whether the purpose of the course is to provide a complete preparation for SQE1, or whether further preparation would be required.

We have a list of organisations that provide SQE training and/or publish SQE study materials.

Some universities will be offering a more traditional law degree - one which does not integrate SQE training but does teach some of the subjects which are assessed in SQE1 (such as contract, tort, land law, equity and trusts, criminal law, EU law, English and Welsh legal system).

After graduating from this type of law degree, candidates may decide to top up their learning for the SQE assessment by studying the other subjects assessed in SQE (for example, criminal litigation, dispute resolution, wills and probate, property practice and business practice).

Some universities may offer some of the additional SQE subjects in their law degree, but not all. For example, they may offer criminal litigation alongside criminal law, but might not teach wills and probate.

Students who are thinking about becoming a solicitor, and are looking at university law degrees, should check carefully which subjects different universities are offering. Some may offer a law degree designed to teach everything which is assessed in SQE1 and so avoid the need for additional study.

Candidates whose degrees do not fully prepare them for SQE could choose to top up their learning, to make sure they are ready to be assessed on the full breadth of the SQE curriculum. They could:

  • take a SQE preparatory course for law graduates - this could include preparation for SQE1, SQE2 or both
  • use study materials to prepare themselves for the assessment
  • gain work experience, for example, through paralegal work in a law firm or in-house legal department. This could also count towards a candidate's qualifying work experience
  • Complete a graduate apprenticeship.

We have a list of organisations that provide SQE training and/or publish SQE study materials.

Having a law degree is not a requirement for qualifying as a solicitor. But in this case, candidates will need to learn the subjects which are assessed in the SQE. There will be shorter SQE preparatory courses building on a law degree and longer ones for those who do not already have a law degree, covering the legal subjects which SQE assesses.

Candidates without a law degree could choose to:

  • take a SQE preparatory course for non-law graduates - this could include preparation for SQE1, SQE2 or both
  • use study materials to prepare themselves for the assessment
  • gain work experience, for example, through paralegal work in a law firm or in-house legal department. This could also count towards a candidate's qualifying work experience.

We have a list of organisations that provide SQE training and/or publish SQE study materials.

You do not need a degree qualification to qualify as a solicitor if you can demonstrate a qualification or work experience that is equivalent to a UK degree. Candidates with equivalent qualification or experience may need top-up their learning to prepare them for the SQE assessment. They could do this by taking an SQE preparatory course, or by using SQE study materials available from publishers.

If the candidate's previous work experience does not meet the requirements for qualifying work experience, they will also need to gain two years' experience delivering legal services.

We have a list of organisations that provide SQE training and/or publish SQE study materials.

Solicitor apprenticeship

Candidates can train through the solicitor apprenticeship route, which includes SQE training as well as the SQE assessments. It typically takes 5 to 6 years to complete, and at the end, candidates gain a Level 7 qualification (equivalent to a master's degree). So providing candidates pass the SQE assessment and meet our character and suitability requirements, they are ready for admission at the end of their solicitor apprenticeship.

Graduate apprenticeship

Candidates with a law degree can join a graduate solicitor apprenticeship programme. This integrates qualifying work experience, as well as SQE1 and SQE2. It typically takes 2 to 3 years to complete. At the end of the graduate solicitor apprenticeship, candidates are ready for admission, providing they meet our character and suitability requirements.

Other apprenticeships

Other apprenticeships can provide valuable work experience and, in some cases, may help candidates develop their legal knowledge and practical legal skills. If a candidate completes a level six apprenticeship, our requirement for candidates to have a degree level qualification is met. These candidates will need to pass the SQE and may choose to top up their learning to help them prepare for the assessment by:

  • taking a SQE preparatory course - this could include preparation for SQE1, SQE2 or both
  • using study materials to prepare themselves for the assessment
  • gaining additional work experience if their previous experience was not in delivering legal services. Legal work experience could also count towards a candidate's qualifying work experience.

We have a list of organisations that provide SQE training and/or publish SQE study materials.