One year into the new Solicitor’s Qualification Exam (SQE), which allows students without a background in law and career changers will have a new route to follow. To learn more about the new route to become a solicitor, we speak with a law tutor that has been teaching students for 16 years.
SQE 1 & 2
The Solicitors Regulation Authority came up with the idea for the new system of qualification for solicitors in England and Wales, which is known as the SQE. Their goal was to increase access to the profession. To become a solicitor, one has to get a degree and then pass the SQE 1 & 2 exams. Along the route, students are required to complete two years of work experience that meets the qualifications. The SQE1 examination lasts little more than 10 hours and is entirely composed of closed-book, single-best-answer questions (SBAQs). These are multiple-choice questions that require you to make an educated decision from a number of different possibilities. However, in order to succeed in SQE 1 & 2, the vast majority of people will find it beneficial to enrol in a professional training programme.
HOW DOES ONE PROCEED TO BECOME A SOLICITOR?
To begin with these classes, a graduate in another field than law will need to first get the requisite core legal knowledge. The majority of students enrolled in a conversion programme such as PgDL, MA Law (Conversion), or MA Law respectively (SQE1).
The SQE is neither a class nor a curriculum; rather, it is an examination. As was the case before, preparatory courses are presented in a variety of forms to suit to the particular requirements of each student. Full-time, part-time, attendance-based, and online instruction is the modes of instruction available to non-law graduate students enrolled in the newly developed conversion courses and SQE preparation classes offered by the University.
The previous route necessitates that prospective lawyers get a passing grade on the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and finish a Training Contract in practise that lasts for two years. Before enrolling in the Legal Practice Course (LPC), a student must either earn a Qualifying Law Degree or successfully complete a conversion programme such as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). It would take two years of full-time study to go from completing a degree in a field other than law to beginning a training contract. It was thought that this route lacked flexibility and may not have done enough to encourage entry into the profession.
THE SQE EXPERIENCE IN ONE YEAR
One of the thing that students are complaining about and something that the new SQE did not envisage is the lack of background information about the rules and laws the students are learning to apply. The course does not teach non law graduates some of the theory and reasoning behind what they are studying. Where did law come from? Why is this a principle in law? What the SQE is doing is producing a conveyer belt of lawyers that do not know the basics about law. What they do not tell you, is there are other courses you must complete to get the knowledge you need.
This is where we can help we have published a set of 12 Core Series books that discuss all of the basics, a non-law graduate needs to know. It is not a heavy text book but rather a concise and condensed version of all the information you need to fill in the gaps. Furthermore it is laid out in a simple format: the general principle, the case name and citation (authority), the facts, the decision (the ratio) and application – how to use the case.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A SOLICITOR?
The amount of time needed to qualify is proportional to the path that is pursued. This portion of the student's training will take about one academic year to complete, which is the same amount of time as the LPC since the SQE examinations are scheduled at predetermined times throughout the year and the student must attend preparatory courses for each testing. In a similar fashion, a non-law graduate will have to initially spend one academic year doing conversion course. People are able to complete the programme in a shorter amount of time if they choose to either skip a course, which is not recommended, or participate in a short-form course, such as the SQE Law Essentials conversion course.
The SQE offers both freedom and choice to its users. The path that students choose to get those SQE examinations is ultimately up to them, but the vast majority of them will follow the conventional pattern of conversion courses followed by vocational training. Individuals are given the opportunity to obtain relevant experience in a broader context than was previously possible via the use of qualifying work experience. This should result in improved flexibility and access. The purpose of the SBAQs is to shift the focus away from conventional test abilities like as composition and essay writing and more toward the practical application of legal concepts and evaluation skills. The PGDL at the university strives to address these abilities while maintaining a focus on critical thinking and communication skills, both of which are valued by students and employers.
CAN YOU DO THE SQE WITHOUT A LAW DEGREE?
You might be asking yourself, "Can I be a solicitor even if I don't have a legal degree?" The answer to that question is yes, you very certainly can. Under the new SQE system, one of the most significant changes is that in order to qualify as a solicitor, one does not require a law degree or an equivalent. However, in order to be successful in the SQE tests, a candidate will need an in-depth familiarity with the legal system in England and Wales. This is where our books can help and come into play. You will not be as unprepared for the demands of SQE1 and SQE2 if you do if you read our books.
Aspiring solicitors are the target audience for the SQE. After successfully completing SQE1&2, the majority of students will go on to complete two years of qualifying work experience before being qualified as solicitors. Despite the fact that one may get this experience in whatever order they want. Employers in the legal industry place equal significance on those who have made a career switch as well as those who do not yet possess a law degree. People who have not come from a legal background may contribute their knowledge, skills, and a renewed passion for the legal system. Be patient as you begin your conversion course, since it will take some time for your brain to adjust to thinking like a lawyer. However, the effort will be well worth it in the end.
WHAT ALTERNATIVES EXIST FOR A CAREER IN LAW?
There are transition procedures in place for those who have already begun their legal degree qualification, GDL, or training contract, and these will remain in place until December 2032. Using them, you will be able to qualify as a solicitor using the pathways that are now in place.
At some point in the future, you will be able to begin an apprenticeship to become a solicitor. For instance, a Level 7 Solicitors Apprenticeship for students who have already completed their A-levels, or a Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeship (post-first degree).
Have a look at our books you will not be disappointed. We have a vast range of core subjects covered and are continually updating them on a yearly basis. The subjects we offer are:
Equity & Trusts
Constitutional & Administrative Law
We also have professional books for practice like the Civil Litigation Handbook.