Reed Smith Client Alerts

In September 2021, the Solicitors Regulation Authority are introducing a new path to qualification in England and Wales which will replace the existing qualification routes. The Legal Practice Course (LPC), Graduate Diploma in Law conversion course (GDL), Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme for overseas qualified lawyers (QLTS), and Professional Skills Course (PSC) will all be replaced by the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), although there will be a transition period during which both routes are available. This alert provides a brief summary of the new SQE regime and how Reed Smith has developed a bespoke qualification programme for our new legal trainee recruits from September 2021. Whether you recruit your own trainees or not, these changes will affect your business in the future. For more information, our SQE Explained brochure outlines the new qualification route and how Reed Smith can help you to make the most of it.

Authors: Brigid A. North Adam J. Curphey

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.