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8. The Solicitor Career Path: How the SQE Fits In

The Solicitor Career Path: How the SQE Fits In

Are you considering a career as a solicitor? The legal profession offers a diverse range of opportunities and challenges, and becoming a solicitor is a coveted goal for many aspiring lawyers. With the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), the process of qualifying as a solicitor is undergoing significant changes. In this article, we will explore the solicitor career path and how the SQE fits into it.

The Traditional Route to Becoming a Solicitor

In the past, qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales followed a specific path. After completing a qualifying law degree or a non-law degree followed by a conversion course, aspiring solicitors would undertake the Legal Practice Course (LPC) to gain the necessary practical skills. Subsequently, they would secure a two-year training contract with a law firm, during which they would gain hands-on experience in different areas of law.

This traditional route had its advantages, providing a comprehensive legal education and practical training. However, it also posed challenges, including the high cost of the LPC and the competitive nature of securing training contracts.

The Introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)

Recognizing the need for a more accessible and modernized approach to qualifying as a solicitor, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has introduced the SQE. This new assessment is designed to ensure that all solicitors meet the same high standards of knowledge and skills, regardless of their background or the path they choose to pursue their legal education.

The SQE comprises two stages. Stage 1 focuses on testing candidates’ legal knowledge and understanding through multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and written tasks. Stage 2 assesses their practical legal skills, such as legal research, writing, drafting, and advocacy, through a series of scenario-based practical assessments.

The SQE offers several benefits for aspiring solicitors. It allows flexibility in terms of the educational path, enabling candidates to pursue their legal studies in a way that suits their individual circumstances. It also provides a more affordable option, as candidates can choose from a range of SQE preparatory courses that suit their budget.

How the SQE Fits into the Solicitor Career Path

The SQE marks a significant shift in the solicitor career path. Instead of completing the LPC, aspiring solicitors will now need to pass the SQE to qualify. This change aims to simplify and streamline the process, making it more accessible and inclusive.

After passing the SQE, the next step for aspiring solicitors is to secure a training contract. While the SQE does not guarantee a training contract, it equips candidates with the necessary knowledge and skills to impress potential employers during the application and interview process. Aspiring solicitors can also benefit from the strategies and tactics outlined in our SQE Strategies: Proven Tactics to Ace the Solicitors Qualifying Examination.

Once a training contract is obtained, aspiring solicitors will go through the practical training stage, similar to the previous system. This may involve rotations in different departments of a law firm, allowing trainees to gain exposure to various areas of law and develop their skills further. Practical scenarios, similar to those encountered in the SQE assessments, can be found in our SQE Case Studies: Applying Knowledge in Real-Life Scenarios article.

Finally, upon successful completion of the training contract, candidates will be admitted to the roll of solicitors and be ready to practice law. To excel in the SQE and throughout your legal career, it is crucial to develop effective exam strategies. Our article on SQE Exam Strategy: Planning and Executing for Optimal Performance provides valuable insights.


The introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) has brought significant changes to the solicitor career path. This new assessment offers a more accessible and modernized approach to qualifying as a solicitor, ensuring all aspiring solicitors meet the same high standards. By integrating effective strategies, such as those discussed in our Strategies to Tackle SQE MCQs: Mastering Multiple-Choice Questions, aspiring solicitors can confidently navigate the journey towards becoming a qualified solicitor. Embrace the opportunities that the SQE brings and embark on your exciting career in the legal profession!