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SQE officially comes into force

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New solicitor training regime will eventually replace the LPC

The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) has come into force today, becoming the new standardised assessment to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales.

The two-part SQE eventually phases out the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and years of exams being set and marked by more than 100 different training providers.

SQE1 examines functioning legal knowledge in two exams, each made up of 180 multiple-choice questions, while SQE2 tests practical legal skills through 16 written and oral tasks. The total cost to sit both exams will be £3,980, with preparation course fees on top.

Under the new solicitor training regime, candidates will still be required to complete two years of qualifying work experience (QWE), but this can be completed with up to four different legal organisations.

The first-ever SQE1 sit is just over two months away, and preparations have been underway since January at a number of training providers, including Barbri, Law Training Centre and The University of Law. The first SQE2 exams take place from April 2022.

Get the lowdown on all the major legal educators' prep courses with The 2021 Legal Cheek SQE Providers List

Patrick McCann, chair, City of London Law Society Training Committee and global head of learning at Linklaters, commented: “As we enter the first round of the SQE, it’s important to see if the theory works in practice. Only with time will we see whether some of the concerns voiced by learning and development professionals at City firms, and in the wider profession, prove to be challenges once the system is in place.”

He continued: “Although the new system has a greater range of options and price points for students, the route to qualification will undoubtedly require preparatory courses, which we hope that trainees will opt for and anticipate that City firms will fund. The challenge will be to balance funding the various elements that increase the chances of qualifying with accessibility and availability of funding. The CLLS intends to keep working with the SRA in an attempt to secure the most appropriate qualification routes.”

For more info on the new route to solicitor qualification, check out our comprehensive ‘Paths to becoming a lawyer’ guide.

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