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 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.