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.
You will then need to successfully pass the SQE2 assessment. You will be exempt from SQE1 and from sitting the Professional Skills Course.
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 is £2,422. These costs do not include preparation courses for SQE2.
If you choose the SQE2 option, you will need to inform the SRA after 1 September 2021 that you decide to do so. The SRA will require a solicitor confirmation of your two years’ full time or equivalent QWE.
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 introduced.