SQE2 for LPC graduates

The traditional route to becoming a solicitor through the LPC

The Legal Practice Course (LPC) is the vocational stage of the traditional route to qualification as a solicitor in England and Wales. The LPC is currently being phased out and will be replaced by the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).

Depending on your circumstances, you may have three options to complete the qualification process:

  • The LPC route
  • The Equivalent Means
  • The SQE

Qualifying under the current route

The SRA has put in place transitional arrangements for candidates who are already underway to completing the current route to qualify as solicitors.

Candidates who have completed the LPC can qualify under the current route without taking the SQE, until 31 December 2032. This is most likely your best option if you have been offered a period of recognised training (also commonly known as a training contract).

To qualify, you will need to:

  • have a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD) or the Common Professional Examination (CPE)/Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)
  • pass the LPC
  • have a period of recognised training
  • meet the SRA character and suitability requirements

The 'Equivalent Means' route

If you have completed the LPC but not had an offer of a period of recognised training, you may consider the Equivalent Means route, if you have relevant work experience. You will need to compile a portfolio to demonstrate to the SRA how your experience is equivalent to a period of recognised training and submit it to the SRA for assessment. There is a fee of £600 for this application.

The SQE route – an opportunity for LPC graduates

There are an estimated 30,000 students in the UK applying for around 5,500 training contracts every year. As a result, many candidates may find it very difficult to secure a training contract with a law firm.

As an alternative to completing the training contract, candidates who have completed the LPC may ask the SRA to recognise experience equivalent to the qualifying work experience (QWE) as a period of recognised training. The request should be made on the My SRA account. This will then inform Kaplan that you do not need to sit the SQE1 and you can book on to SQE2. You will then be exempt from SQE1 and need to successfully pass the SQE2 assessment. You will also be exempt from sitting the Professional Skills Course. You would then need to have proof of your LPC and two years of confirmed QWE when you apply for admission.

The QWE is more flexible to gain qualifying work experience than the period of recognised training. This may include, for example, a placement during your law degree, working in a student law clinic or as a paralegal.

Your roles must not be in more than four organisations, and must also be confirmed by an English solicitor. The QWE should allow you to develop the competencies required to practise as a solicitor.

You can start gaining QWE now and ‘bank’ it before the SQE was introduced.

The structure of SQE2

SQE2 is a practical legal skills assessment of about 14 hours across five days. The exam includes both oral and written tasks which test both practical legal knowledge and skills, such as client interviewing, advocacy, legal writing and drafting, legal research and case and matter analysis. Professional conduct issues are assessed throughout the exam.

The skills are assessed in the context of several practice areas: dispute resolution, criminal litigation, property practice, business law, and will and the administration of estates.

Altogether you will be tested across 16 assessments known as ‘stations’. The stations in the SQE2 exam will sample across the range of skills and practice areas. Candidates will not be able to choose the practice area for their skills assessment.

The client interviewing and advocacy assessments involve role-play tasks. An assessor, playing the role of the client, will assess your performance. You will also be asked to complete an attendance note following the interview, which will be marked by a solicitor.

The advocacy assessment will be made by way of submission to the court and be assessed by a solicitor.

The legal writing, legal drafting, legal research, and case and matter analysis stations are completed on a computer and are marked by a trained assessor.

The exam is offered by a sole assessment provider, Kaplan, in several locations in the UK, several times a year. The costs of sitting the SQE2 exam are £2,493. These costs do not include preparation courses for SQE2.

Preparing for SQE2

If you decide to take the SQE2 assessment and combine it with your LPC and QWE, QLTS School is here to help you achieve this goal.

Our preparation for SQE2 consists of four stages:

  • Stage I – understanding the style, format and procedures of the SQE assessment
  • Stage II – studying the substantive and procedural law
  • Stage III – learning and understanding the skills
  • Stage IV – developing and practising your legal skills

Our SQE2 preparation courses include 300 mock exams with model answers for self-assessment, 100+ legal skills video workshops, practice area summaries, digital flash cards, and extensive and customised online resources coupled with one-to-one simulated practice stations with personal tutor feedback.

The course structure, content and learning methodology are based on over a decade of experience we have gained in preparing thousands of foreign lawyers for the QLTS OSCE assessment, which is very similar to SQE2.

We will help you prepare and pass the SQE2 assessments.

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Request a free consultationFind out more
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