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

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

The first, important point is that anyone who is currently registered as an LLB student (in the 2021/22 academic year) at the LSE will be able to continue to qualify as a solicitor through the existing qualification routes. At present to qualify as a solicitor it is first necessary to gain a ‘qualifying law degree’, followed by completing the vocational training comprising the Legal Practice Course 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 and counts as a qualifying law degree (providing that optional courses in Property and EU law are taken as part of the degree). It is important to bear in mind that the assessments necessary to qualifying as a barrister in England & Wales have not changed and the changes discussed here have no application to the Bar (for further guidance on qualifying for the Bar see the BSB site).

Students who begin their legal studies after the 2021/22  academic year (i.e. for LSE, students who join us in the 2022/23) will need to take the new route. Under the new route there will be no need to have a qualifying law degree or to undertake the Legal Practice Course in order to qualify as a solicitor. Instead solicitors will need to have any degree or equivalent qualification, have passed the SQE and undertaken a period of work-based training. The SQE assessment will have two stages, with the first being focused on legal knowledge, broadly similar to that supplied in law degrees at present, and the second on practical vocational skills. The result of the change will be that while a law degree or diploma will no longer be necessary to the process of qualifying, a law degree is likely to remain the most effective and reputable way of acquiring the knowledge that is required to complete the first stage of the SQE.

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

https://www.sra.org.uk/students/sqe/

https://www.sra.org.uk/students/sqe/sqe-visuals/

The BPP Law School Bridge Programme
We are pleased to announce that in 2021/22, 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

he 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 of Completion

Please watch this short video for more details or email LawBridge@BPP.com