Cost of living crisis: ‘I am worried my SQE maintenance grant isn’t enough’

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Is part-time work the answer?

In the latest instalment in our Career Conundrums series, one future lawyer is concerned that their firm’s maintenance grant isn’t enough to support them through their SQE studies.

“I have been wondering if there has been any discussion on the cost of living squeeze on future trainees at firms where they haven’t increased the SQE grant this year. I have a TC at one of these firms which has stuck at £11,000 SQE grant for London.

Essentially, I am worried that the grant isn’t going to go far enough and am considering taking on a part time job to cover the rest. I have budgeted for rent, groceries and bills, but I am still around £1,000 short for the 12 months before I start my training contract, and this doesn’t include travel into London to go to university, or anything beyond basic groceries and bills.

I don’t want to ask my parents for yet more money given they supported me through uni and the GDL. So I see no other option but to work part-time to make up the shortfall. However, is this dishonest? My firm is giving me money to allow me to fully concentrate on my studies, but if I need to work a job then I am fundamentally not able to do that. Should I not tell the firm I’m doing this and hope they never find out? Or should I be honest and say I will have to take on part time work to make ends meet? Is it even possible to manage the SQE while working 15+ hours a week?”

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Top G Fan

“Cost of Living Crisis” is a fancy way of saying “The Matrix is screwing us over”.

But when someone tried up to speak up against this, everyone rushed to cancel him.


Top g moslty agree

Exactly, purported with false allegations and misinformation furthermore the Uk government crooks just love their corruption don’t they. I’m from a private school myself and I can see to put it simply how the average man is truly screwed. 19% inflation coming soon yay!!! but c’mon, guys and gals in parliament need that new treehouse under expenses ofc. Im 17



You will be on a very good salary soon. You may have to bridge with a loan or part-time work this year. It’s only the LPC/SQE. You’ll be far busier during your TC. Please stop complaining.


Why u gotta be so rude

Out of touch and somewhat mean LC commenters strike again



‘Stop complaining’ – I mean, he has a practical issue and is looking for a solution. It’s 100% not complaining, but even if it were that doesn’t change they still need to cover for the money shortfall.

Not everyone can ask their parents for financial support all the time.



Exactly, and if things are sticky, can’t the family trustee not help out?



What does your contract say about additional jobs? Check there first and then go back to your firm and ask them if there’s some flexibility and, if not, could they assist in some way. Maybe show them your budget to illustrate this. If it’s a job 1-2 days a week to make up the shortfall, you may be still able to find the hours you need to study. At a push would you be able to have a credit card to pick up the shortfall? Not ideal but some cards do offer 0% interest and if you limit the credit amount you can keep an eye on your bottom line. Good luck!!



Some firms are quite relaxed, eg a top 10 firm that a former colleague had an LPC grant for a few years ago. A lot of major firms will be sympathetic.



Headline should be changed to “Poor fragile petal may have to work to get money, mum called to bring Kleenex to wipe tears of brave little soldier”.

Entitled young folk should have a word with someone in their grandparents’ generation to understand actual suffering and getting on things without whining to strangers on the internet.



lmao Boomers had the world go their way at each step of their lives. That generation lived the easiest life in the history of mankind. No such thing as “entitled young folk” my trolling dude.



Yes, living with a ration card, no access to cheap clothes and consumer electronics, high risk of early death, limited vaccines and slim chance of university places for the working class was a real picnic.



Funny how the students who have already beat the odds (sounds like this student is from the regions) are instructed to budget and do more (i.e. work during the SQE) than the spoilt folks living off the Bank of Mum and Dad. It’s always “grow up”, “my great uncle won the war”, “work hard and prosper” from those who scroll through vegan recipe videos on TikTok all day and wear Louis Vuitton to ULaw. Kim Kardashian would be a perfect MC trainee – utterly bland/nothing new but has a multitude of soundbites and a generous dose of privilege.


sqe 1

a lot of sqe contracts dont let you work other jobs on them btw



The comment that Boomers did not have it easy because of ration cards and no access to cheap clothes is completely inaccurate. Did you go to school? Boomers lived through prosperity. Boomer gen started in 1946, the year rationing ended. Original commenter probably has a TC at a big UK firm…God help the FTSE 100.



Rationing actually ended in the mid 1950s for many things.



For once, I agree with Alan.

My grandparents lived through the War and just got on with it.

If you wear the Drynites you can pretend you’re not a bed wetter but it doesn’t solve your problem, ultimately.

Everything has to be paid for.


ulaw lpc

If your course is a Msc or LLM course you can take the government post graduate loan which is worth around 11,000.



I think you should take the part time work. It’s not dishonest – it’s life. And you don’t have to tell your firm if you don’t want to. My advice would be to do something in the evenings so you can study during the day – but doesn’t last until the early hours so you’re tired all the time, and something that isn’t mentally taxing. If you like animals you could even walk dogs or cat sit – so many people in London need people to help with that!



If you are just doing the SQE you should have time to have a part time job too. I know some people studying for SQE around full time busy paralegal roles. Therefore if there is no restriction regarding other jobs in your deal with the firm you have the TC with then yes get some work. The maintenance grants are meant to help with expenses not necessarily cover them all and I would definitely not approach the firm asking for an increase!


This is what I did.

Tutor; it’s literally printing money. 3 or 4 sessions at c. £40-60/hour a week and Bob’s your proverbial.



Ditto. You’ll also see how most kids at public schools are of average intelligence and need spoon-feeding to pass any exam.



How’s that chip on your shoulder doing? It seems you are nursing it nicely.



I’m currently studying the LPC (January intake), so obviously not directly comparable in terms of the workload, but I have managed to work part-time in a bar throughout it to top up my maintenance grant. I’ve found it stressful at times, but those have only really been during the weeks where I’ve worked around 30 hours on top of the LPC. Usually I work between 12-21 hours.

If you are going to work, I would certainly try to make sure you have a supportive/flexible employer. Mine were fine reducing hours when exams came up, and generally took two weeks off work completely when the exams were actually happening. The flexibility certainly helps a lot. Also, even with a less supportive employer, make sure you stand firm with your time and limits. My previous employer was less supportive, but I made it very clear that if I was on the rota for times I made clear I could not work, I would not be present.

Additionally, my personal experience was that evening work fit best for me. It meant that I could do my studies/workshops during the day when I was most awake, then in the evening could go to work where I was a lot less reliant on my ability to self-motivate/focus.

Of course, as someone else pointed out, check your contract to ensure you’re not in breach by working part-time. But I honestly wouldn’t worry about the “dishonesty” element if there’s no prohibition on it. Because your firm don’t provide enough income to cover living expenses for the period in question (and presuming no prohibition), it seems to be implied that they expect you to cover it through a different source – be that working, parents, or a further loan.

The key thing though is going to be to ensure you feel comfortable with the workload and ensuring you pass. If working becomes too much, then it probably would be more advisable to just take out a further loan as opposed to risking failing the course.

Hopefully this helps.


Voice of ordinary England

Wear a jumper and stop moaning. Or give up and stop moaning.



14 years of rationing, 12+ years of tory lead austerity. I know which I’d choose, the one where a full time job paid rent.


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