Changes to qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales (SQE)

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has introduced a new method of assessment for qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination or “SQE”. 

Students who started their law degree in 2021 or earlier remain eligible to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales via the traditional qualification route. Under the traditional route, it is first necessary to gain a Qualifying Law Degree, followed by vocational training comprising the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and a two-year period of work-based training. A Qualifying Law degree is one that includes seven core legal subjects. The LSE LLB includes those seven core subjects (providing Property II and EU law are chosen).  

Students who begin their legal studies in 2022 or later must qualify via the SQE. Under the new route there is no need to have a qualifying law degree or to undertake the LPC. Instead, prospective solicitors need to have a degree or equivalent qualification, to pass the SQE, and to undertake a period of work-based training. The SQE has two stages, with the first focused on legal knowledge, and the second requiring both legal knowledge and practical skills. While a law degree or diploma in law will no longer be necessary, a law degree remains the most effective and reputable way to start the process of preparing for the SQE. 

Note that the changes discussed here have no application to the Bar (for further guidance on qualifying for the Bar see the BSB site). 

Details of how the SQE works can be found on the SRA’s website: 

The BPP Law School Bridge Programme 
Final-year LSE students (UG and PG) are eligible to register for BPP Law School’s free online Bridge Programmes, which have materials that aim to help you prepare for study of the SQE or the Bar Training Course 

The Bridge Programme is a free, career development programme that provides information for students who may wish to qualify as a solicitor or barrister in the future. The Bridge offers a range of modules for students to undertake alongside their studies, and bridges the gap between your degree and the next stage of your legal training.  It's largely a self-study online programme which is flexible and contains a variety of interactive exercises and some ‘live’ online events to attend during the academic year.  

The Bridge is two programmes in one: Bridge to the SQE (for prospective solicitors) and Bridge to the Bar (for aspiring barristers) - you simply choose which one to enrol on. 

As well as being free to LSE students, those who complete at least half of the Bridge Programme, have the chance of being awarded a scholarship, which works as a fee reduction against the cost of BPP's PGDL, LPC, SQE, BTC programmes.  Because LSE has signed up to the Bridge with BPP, one £5,000 scholarship is guaranteed and up to three more (worth £2,000 each) may be awarded.  All students who complete the Bridge will be awarded a Certificate