SRA launches Facebook page to help demystify solicitor super-exam

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Regulator revealed last week SQE could cost up to £4,500

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has launched a new Facebook page to help inform students about the forthcoming changes to legal education, namely the centralised solicitor super-exam.

The page, Career in Law, contains information on the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), otherwise known as the super-exam, as well as advice on apprenticeships and training contracts. It provides aspiring lawyers with further guidance on the transition period between the old and new routes to qualification, and additional details of the likely structure of the assessment.

Julie Brannan, SRA director of education and training, told Legal Cheek: “Making career choices can be difficult and confusing. We want to help aspiring solicitors make informed choices. And with the SQE being so new — and still going through testing and development — we need to make it easy to keep up to date with the latest information. Career in Law will also give people an easy way to have a conversation with the SRA about qualifying.”

Brannan continued:

“In developing Career in Law, we have spoken to a real mix of students, including those at college, so we can make sure our content is pitched in the right way. Initial feedback has been positive, but it’s very early days. I would encourage Legal Cheek’s readers to take a look and tell us what they think. That will help us improve Career in Law and ensure it explains clearly how to qualify.”

The regulator revealed last week that students will “likely” pay between £3,000 and £4,500 to sit the new two-part exam. SQE1 will be a computer-based multiple-choice assessment and will cost between £1,100 and £1,650, while SQE2 will test students’ practical legal skills and will cost between £1,900 and £2,850, according to SRA predictions. The costings, however, do not include preparation course fees, which are likely to add thousands onto the final training bill.

The 2019 LPC Most List

The pricings did not go down well with many Legal Cheek readers. Martin George, an associate professor of property law at Leicester Law School, branded the price estimates “an absolute disgrace”, while Thom Brooks, dean of Durham Law School wrote: “This isn’t opening access, but closing doors. I oppose it 100%.”

At the same time, the SRA confirmed it had pushed back the SQE’s implementation date until September 2021, having previously proposed a launch date of September 2020. It said the additional time was in response to “strong” feedback from law firms and education providers.

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BPP SQE: £4,500
BPP SQE + LLM in Gimmicklaw Studies: £14,500


I look into my crystal ball...

Legal cheek is full of cheek. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.



Law firms: “You should streamline the education framework to focus on core skills and knowledge and develop a better link between the classroom and the profession.”

SRA: “We hear you loud and clear; so we’re going to split the education out into arbitrary stages-

Firms: “No, that’s not what we mea-”

SRA: “-and we’re going to open everything up so that you don’t even need a decent degree to take the exam-

Firms: “You’re completely missing what’s wrong with the current system..”

SRA: “But you asked for a common entrance exam for the profession?”

Firms: “No, we asked for better equipped graduates.”

SRA: “Too late.”



Hot off the press! Law Schools oppose the SQE! And the providers of the LPC also oppose it. And turkeys would not vote for Christmas.

The system is broken and works for those with the funds to pay for the LPC. How about levelling up the playing field? And ratcheting up standards while we are at it?

The legal profession is inaccessible to those who are not able to run the risk of paying the huge fees to take the LPC. with no guarantee of a job at the end of it. There is no common standard. It is virtually impossible to fail the LPC. Every man and his dog seems to be awarded Firsts or Upper Seconds at university. The idea of a Single Qualifying standard makes sense.

As for dumbing down the standards, I expect that we will see a surprisingly high failure rate for the SQE. This will test your First or Upper Second. So you will need to be fully prepared to pass the SQE.



Most of us get TCs before we do the lpc



All fair points – but do you think the SQE will achieve a level playing field whilst raising standards? From what I’ve read they’re just repackaging the LPC.



The LPC doesn’t bar anyone good from entering the profession as it is funded by most firms. If you do it without a TC in place you are an idiot I’m afraid.

That said, we can all agree that the LPC isn’t very good and that the providers should be put a stop to.



“If you do it without a TC in place you are an idiot I’m afraid.” I don’t quite agree.

This is all anecdotal, but I did the LPC without a TC offer; I even had the gall to only get a Commendation! Currently a paralegal at an MC firm whilst waiting to start my TC. I did do the “Masters” option (lol) to get an SLC loan and because of my circumstances I was able to apply for a small bursary to cover the rest – but it’s still money I owe for having taken the LPC.

I know this all just comes across as me bragging, and I am proud of my achievements – but I want others to know that if they are willing to work hard then they can achieve their goals. I moved to London and lived in a shoe-box for a year so I could be in proximity of the jobs I was looking for. I spent (collectively) days of my time outside of work doing applications and attending events; I took two weeks unpaid from my job to complete the vacation scheme that got me my TC. I had zero connections when I started working and I was scolded by friends and family for my choices. But it’s completely possible to take risks and for them to pay off in the end – you just need to be motivated and know what it is you’re trying to achieve.

I may have completely missed the point here because I did feel slightly attacked by the your comment (I know right? Bet you couldn’t tell /s), but please just know that it’s not stupid to take calculated risks.



You could have done all that without fronting the LPC money yourself though. The LPC doesn’t really help you get a TC.



Again, my own experience of securing a TC leads me to disagree.

In most interviews, verbal assessments etc. I said that, by self-funding the LPC, I had demonstrated a level commitment beyond that of the majority of my peers in relation to pursuing my chosen career. That seemed to go down quite well with most if not all of the interviewers to whom I’d said it. One can never be sure.

A few of them did note that I was perhaps putting all my eggs in one basket, all I could say was that “I’m aware that I’ve taken a risk, I’m doing everything within my control to ensure it pays off.” Again, I can’t say with any certainty at all that this vein of answer went in my favour every time, but I’ve got a TC now, so…

What is this mess?

Of course the legal profession is inaccessible, a solicitors clients want the best and the brightest to advise them. They do not want to be advised by someone who has guessed their way through a multiple choice test and has all of the academic entry requirements to the profession waived on the basis that a person fits into some sort of arbitrary anti-discrimination exemption.

Sometimes I think people forget that no-one is entitled to anything in this world.

Anyway, anyone who thinks this mess from the SRA will change anything is deluded. Firms will still recruit from the same avenues and those who don’t make the cut will still be stuck as minimum wage paralegals; only perhaps with less debt but not even a certificate to show for their effort.



To be fair paralegals at my firm can easily earn £40k. Not exactly minimum wage.


What is this mess?

Fair point, but you have to admit they are the lucky ones. I was embarrassed when I found out what ours are on, sub £20k in medium city firm, its almost unethical. They hire people with the vague promise that the role may lead to a tc, and then use them as a cheap way to do trainee level work with absolutely no intention of offering them a tc or helping them progress at all.



Name and shame.



I’m amazed they can get away with that – going rate for a paralegal in the City is £15/hour though you do have to be reasonably good to achieve that I suppose.



what about a psychiatrist to demystify why people want to do law


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