An Insight into the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE)
I have wanted to pursue a career in law since studying various aspects of law and justice within my degree in history. Since then, I have gained practical experience in law, firstly in personal injury and clinical negligence at another local law firm and recently, within the banking and finance litigation department at Ellis Jones where I joined as a paralegal in August 2021.
I began researching various ways to qualify as a solicitor as I was not a law graduate, and noted that I could qualify by going through the route of studying a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and a training contract. I had made the decision that this would not be cost effective for myself and decided to find work at a law firm first. The opportunity then arose at my previous firm to study and qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive through the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) which would allow me to study whilst working in order to gain the experience needed to qualify and once qualified you were then able to cross qualify as a Solicitor. To firstly qualify through CILEx you needed to study Levels 3 and 6. I began Level 3 and passed Introduction to Law, Civil Litigation, Tort and Contract. Shortly after passing these exams, the Legal Standards Board approved the SQE which would gradually replace the LPC and training contract way of qualifying as a solicitor.
I thought about whether or not I wanted to continue my studies with CILEx or go through the route of the SQE. I contacted the Solicitors Regulation Authority to find out further information on how to qualify, and they confirmed the requirements to qualify through the SQE are; any degree in any subject as a law degree is no longer required; pass both SQE 1 and SQE 2 and have 2 years of qualifying work experience which can be completed before, during or after your exams.
There are various routes you can study the SQE such as with a University, another training provider or self-study. I chose to obtain a qualification with the University of Law and so in October 2021 I began the MA Law (SQE 1) which is a Masters level qualification. The MA is part-time and online which allows me to study whilst also enabling me to continue gaining work experience. I will be due to take SQE 1 in January 2024 and SQE 2 shortly after.
Ellis Jones are very encouraging with career progression and have been more than supportive of myself in studying via the SQE route and I am looking forward to gaining experience and furthering my career with the firm.
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