A fifth of law firms will require LPC grads to sit parts of the SQE

By on

Future trainees to undergo further training but at firm’s expense, Legal Cheek research reveals

Nearly one fifth of law firms will require Legal Practice Course (LPC) graduates to undergo further training and complete parts of the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).

Legal Cheek research shows that 18% of graduate recruitment and learning & development teams at law firms across the country will require LPC graduates to complete SQE1 and 2 or just SQE2 upon joining them as trainees.

These firms indicated, however, that they will fund the cost for taking the exams as well as any prep courses.

The SQE officially came into force on 1 September 2021, kickstarting the gradual phase out of its predecessor, the LPC.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has authorised graduates who have passed the LPC to qualify as solicitors using SQE2 and QWE (qualifying work experience). The regulator deems this equivalent to a period of recognised training, i.e. a training contract, and they won’t have to complete SQE1. This could mean that some of the firms we surveyed anticipate using this pathway for future trainee cohorts, who will qualify under the LPC route rather than the new SQE regime.

It’s difficult to say for sure why firms will require LPC grads to undergo further training as their approaches differ greatly under the new, more flexible SQE regime. But it could be a way to ensure all their future trainees have undergone the same rigorous training and are practice-ready.

The 2022 Legal Cheek SQE Provider List

The survey — undertaken by 33 law firms — further revealed that the majority will fully transition to the SQE pathway in either 2023 or 2024; 36% said they will enter the new route from 2023, with 42% saying they will do so from 2024. Just 18% of respondent firms said they will enter the SQE pathway from 2025 onwards.

The SQE has done away with the requirement that non-law grads must complete a law conversion course, yet the majority of firms we surveyed (85%) said they will continue to require future trainees complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or re-badged Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL).

The SQE will be a central topic of discussion at LegalEdCon 2022, Legal Cheek‘s annual future of legal education and training conference, taking place today, in-person, at Kings Place in London. Delegates will hear from a range of law firms and law schools on how they established SQE frameworks and where they think the new regime is headed.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, news and careers advice:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter


SQEuel little piggies.

Seems silly for the firm to increase the £15-20k invested in the trainee by way of LPC and maintenance funding by making them do the SQE 2 when it’s not even necessary.

I wonder whether this might only apply to people who have already completed the LPC before getting a TC



I would have hated the idea of doing more exams while already a trainee.



No LPC graduate will need to do SQE1 – they are exempt.



That’s true although a firm could as a matter of contract I suppose require it. It is more likely that some firms will requite LPC people also to do SQE2 which in my view is a waste of time as the LPC is arguably more arduous anyway. eg i think with SQE2 you just have to pass the skills bits overall whereas on the LPC you have to pass every single one of them individually. On SQE2 it seems mostly to be skills rather than all that law you do on the LPC even though on the LPC you have already done a 3 year LLB or a year’s conversion course.



Which firms? Name and shame



Survey of 33 firms, meaning 6 firms have confirmed they’re doing this – not a reliable stat



So how will this work? It gets to some ridiculous deadline for a deal and you’re trying to juggle a 70+ hour week while getting ready for an exam? Sounds absolutely awful.



Sounds ridiculous to me. Don’t even like the way the SQE is set out anyway. So accessible to anyone with no legal knowledge.



Further back goes the goalpost for prospective trainees


hate this sqe BS

F u SQE. Such a mess…



What is the actual point of this other than to futher annoy any prospective trainees that are supposedly ‘the future of the firm’ ? If I completed my LPC and got my TC secured, what would completing SQE add? Are these firms trying to claim that the SQE results are somehow superior to a fully completed LPC? At the same time, what are the repercussions of failing these SQEs if you’re at the end of your TC? Are you saying that firms are actually happy to pay for the training +LPC(those who do pay for it) and then on top of that the SQEs and get nothing in return?
How about these firms & partners actually start properly training their trainees rather than pawning on them the admin work that your PAs can’t be asked completing for you? This profession is getting more & more ridiculous by the day!


Comments are closed.

Related Stories