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27. Practical Legal Skills (PLS): A Crucial Focus for SQE Candidates

27. Practical Legal Skills (PLS): A Crucial Focus for SQE Candidates

Gaining practical legal skills (PLS) is a crucial aspect of preparing for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE). As SQE candidates, you need to not only possess a strong theoretical understanding of the law but also demonstrate your ability to apply that knowledge in practical scenarios. This blog post will discuss the importance of PLS for SQE candidates and provide valuable insights to help you develop and showcase these skills effectively.

Why are Practical Legal Skills Important for SQE Candidates?

Before we delve into the specifics of PLS, let’s understand why these skills hold such importance for SQE candidates. The SQE aims to assess candidates’ competence to practice as solicitors in England and Wales. It focuses on practical application rather than mere theoretical knowledge.

By honing your PLS, you develop the ability to solve complex legal problems, draft legal documents, advise clients, negotiate effectively, and conduct legal research. These skills are essential in real-world legal practice and will be tested in the SQE assessments.

Furthermore, possessing practical legal skills enhances your employability. Law firms and legal employers seek lawyers who can hit the ground running and handle clients’ needs confidently. PLS can provide you with a competitive edge in the job market and open doors to exciting career opportunities.

How to Develop Practical Legal Skills

Now that we understand the significance of PLS, let’s explore some strategies to develop and refine these skills:

1. Seek Practical Experience

One of the most effective ways to develop PLS is by gaining practical experience. Look for internships, clerkships, or volunteering opportunities at law firms, legal clinics, or non-profit organizations. These experiences will provide you with hands-on exposure to real legal matters, allowing you to apply your knowledge in practice.

Additionally, consider seeking pro bono opportunities. These not only contribute to your professional growth but also demonstrate your commitment to public service and social responsibility.

2. Engage in Mooting and Mock Trials

Mooting and mock trials offer invaluable opportunities to enhance your advocacy and legal research skills. Participate in mooting competitions or join your university’s mock trial team. These activities will sharpen your ability to construct persuasive arguments, present your case confidently, and think on your feet.

3. Attend Practical Skills Workshops and Webinars

Many professional organizations and legal education providers offer practical skills workshops and webinars. These sessions cover a wide range of legal practice areas and provide insights into practical techniques and strategies. Attend these events to learn from experienced lawyers and gain practical tips that can elevate your PLS.

Make sure to check out our related article on Unlocking Knowledge with SQE Webinars: Expert Insights at Your Fingertips to discover how webinars can help you in your SQE preparation journey.

4. Integrate PLS into Legal Studies

While focusing on developing your theoretical legal knowledge, ensure you also integrate practical aspects into your studies. For example, while learning about contract law, practice drafting contracts or advising clients on contract-related scenarios.

You can also consider enrolling in courses or programs specifically designed to enhance your PLS. Our related article on Review of SQE Course Providers: Choosing the Best Fit provides valuable insights to help you select the right course provider for your needs.

5. Embrace Technology

The legal industry is constantly evolving, and technology plays a significant role in shaping its practices. Familiarize yourself with legaltech tools and software used in different practice areas. For example, explore document automation platforms, legal research databases, and case management systems.

How to Showcase Your Practical Legal Skills in the SQE

While developing your PLS is crucial, it is equally important to showcase these skills effectively in the SQE assessments. Here are some tips to help you:

1. Practice Past SQE Questions

Regularly practice past SQE questions to familiarize yourself with the exam format and improve your practical problem-solving skills. Try to simulate exam conditions and time yourself while answering the questions.

2. Focus on Legal Analysis and Application

In the SQE assessments, it is essential to demonstrate your ability to analyze legal scenarios and apply the relevant laws and principles. Practice breaking down complex legal problems, identifying key issues, and providing clear and concise advice or solutions.

3. Highlight your Practical Experience

In your SQE application and any subsequent interviews, highlight your practical experience and relate it to the PLS required for solicitors. Discuss specific cases or projects you have worked on, highlighting the skills you developed and lessons you learned.

Our related article on Balancing Work and SQE Prep: Strategies for Success provides additional tips on managing your time effectively throughout the SQE preparation process.

4. Solicitor Simulation Exercises

Engage in solicitor simulation exercises to further enhance your PLS. These exercises simulate real-life legal scenarios and require you to draft legal documents, negotiate agreements, or advise clients. Seek feedback from experienced solicitors to refine your skills.


Practical legal skills are essential for SQE candidates, as they demonstrate your readiness to practice as a qualified solicitor. By actively developing and showcasing your PLS, you increase your chances of success in the SQE assessments and enhance your employability. Embrace practical experiences, engage in relevant activities, and integrate PLS into your legal studies to effectively demonstrate your ability to apply legal knowledge in real-world scenarios.

Remember, passing the SQE requires a balanced approach that combines theoretical understanding with practical skills. Check out our related article on Unlocking the Secrets to Passing the SQE Exam to discover valuable insights and strategies for exam success.

Understanding how the SQE grading system works is also crucial. Our related article on Understanding the Grading System in SQE provides a comprehensive overview of how the SQE assessments are graded and what you need to do to achieve your desired results.