What is the SQE?
The SQE consists of two sets of assessments that applicants must pass in order to qualify as a solicitor: SQE 1 (functioning legal knowledge) and SQE 2 (practical legal skills). There is no mandated programme of education or training required in order to pass the SQE, although preparation training and additional knowledge and skills courses will be offered at a price by legal education providers.
How does this affect my business?
The SQE is being introduced in September 2021. However, applicants will have the option to choose between the LPC and SQE route provided that they have started their legal education prior to the introduction of the SQE, with a provisional long-stop date of September 2031.
If you recruit trainees or intend to do so in the future
The transition period means that you can continue to send applicants on the existing LPC route for a number of years. At Reed Smith we believe that the changes provide an opportunity to train future lawyers in a new way and will be taking advantage of the new route from September 2022. Depending on how far in advance you recruit your future trainees, you may very soon need to consider when you want to switch to the SQE route and what sorts of additional preparation and training are available.
If you do not recruit trainees and have no intention to do so in the future
Even if you have no plans to train solicitors in-house, from 2021 you may have paralegals or other legal professionals who wish to qualify as a solicitor, or you may encounter potential future joiners who have chosen to complete the SQE route. In light of this it would be helpful to understand the new route in order to evaluate the differences.
How we can help
No matter how you recruit solicitors, students who begin their legal education in 2022 will be required to follow the SQE route. Our SQE Explained brochure provides key information about the new route and Reed Smith’s unique, commercially-focused programme designed to revolutionise legal education and training, which may provide you with an option for training your own future joiners, should you wish to do so. We would welcome the opportunity to:
- Update you on the upcoming changes and what they mean for your business.
- Explain details of the Professional SQE and explore whether it is a route you would consider for your own future joiners.
- Explore placing a student to work with you for two days a week while undertaking a commercial project within and for the benefit of your business during the rest of the week as part of their studies.
- Seek your input and feedback as we create the detailed curriculum of the Professional SQE, in order to ensure our future joiners are best equipped to deliver for you.
We can work with you to design the course, to build in and capitalise on flexibility, and to provide and/or host secondees.
For more information please download the brochure below.
Client Alert 2020-596