30 November 2021

Introducing SQEs, the new route to secure a career in law

⚖️ The introduction of SQEs mean that there are even more routes to obtain a career in law.
Emsal Ali

Emsal Ali

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1. The actual change

The change is quite simple. To become a solicitor after 2022/23 is to: obtain any degree (or have qualified from an apprenticeship which gives equivalent qualifications) pass two assessments, then do two years of work experience and then, finally, pass the character test and then you’re a qualified solicitor. A few tests, a degree in anything, and some work experience. That’s it! 

The more in-depth explanation is that the two assessments are split into SQE1 and SQE2. 

 

2. What is the SQE1?

SQE1 examines the (hopefully) soon to be solicitor’s legal knowledge. This is where you’ll be assessed on the knowledge one would acquire in the traditional LLB or a GDL. There is a range of things you should be knowledgeable on which aren’t limited to but include: the legal system of England and Wales, EU law, Tort law, Solicitor’s Accounts, and Wills. As well as being examined on your functional legal knowledge, you’ll also be assessed on professionalism and ethics and the assessment will likely draw on interdisciplinary ideas. You cannot go into the legal world without understanding basic taxation and the assessment expects you to understand how scenarios (financial, business, public sector) have legal solutions regardless of what sector they are in. 

The exam is styled in a way with 180 questions per assessment with multiple choice answers to legal scenarios. The SQE website states that “the pass mark would be likely to be in the range of 55%-60%”. 

Example question: 

Are you going to become a solicitor and do you find this article an easier explanation to read than anything else online? 

  1. Yes and yes

  2. No, and yes

  3. No, and no (wrong answer!)

  4. I want to be a barrister and yes

 

3. What is the SQE2?

SQE2 requires the same legal knowledge as SQE1. It pushes a focus on rules for businesses and more practical scenarios like how to deal with clients at police stations. It should also be noted that the assessment requires you to understand the black letter law. This sounds much more complicated than it is. It is the law that is no longer disputable and is cemented into our legal system. Generally, this refers to things like tort, land, and contract law. There is no subtlety to the intrusiveness of professionalism and ethical behaviour in the SQE2 assessment. It is the crux of the assessment. The SQE2 is split into two separate methods of assessment: speaking and writing. 

The speaking assessment consists of two advocacies (arguments) in dispute resolution and criminal legislation and there are two interviews covering properties, wills, and probate administration & practice. The order of these four things can potentially differ. This takes place over two and a half days and can be relatively intense if unorganised. Make sure you’re switched on and well prepared! 

The written assessment is equally, if not more, intense. There are twelve written assessments over three and a half days. All days follow this order: Case and matter analysis, drafting, researching, writing. The first day includes a focus on dispute resolution and criminal litigation. The second day includes property practice and wills & intestacy, probate admin and practice. The last day is entirely focused on the organisations of businesses and subsequently, their rules and procedures. 

 

4. The utility of a law degree with the new system

A law degree remains the best way to obtain the legal knowledge required to pass both SQE1 and SQE2. However, you don’t necessarily need one! Check out 3 main pathways into a successful law career to learn about other options you have when pursuing a law career.

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30 November 2021

Introducing SQEs, the new route to secure a career in law

⚖️ The introduction of SQEs mean that there are even more routes to obtain a career in law.
Emsal Ali

Emsal Ali

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