Becoming a solicitor
Find out the route you need to take to become a practising solicitor in the UK.
The initial (academic) stage of qualification as either a barrister or a solicitor is the same: you need either to obtain an undergraduate law degree or, if you already have a first degree in another subject, you can opt instead to complete a law conversion course (the Graduate Diploma in Law).
You then need to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) to obtain the required set of legal skills needed to work as a solicitor.
After this a training contract must be completed, lasting two years if done full time or four years (on the basis of two and a half days per week) part time. Members of the Training Contract Advisory Service (TCAS), a specialist team of LPC tutors, will help you with the process of identifying suitable firms and applying to them, as well as providing help and advice on interview skills.
The training contract is a period of practice-based training to obtain practical experience and learn how to apply the skills developed in the Legal Practice Course. It is most often undertaken in a solicitors' firm although other options are available such as in the in-house legal department of a local authority or company. At least three areas of law will be covered during this time, with the trainee spending a sustained period (usually known as a "seat") on each. Trainees will deal with clients and learn how to handle their own cases but will be closely supervised.
During the training contract, the Professional Skills Course (as specified by the Solicitors Regulation Authority) must also be successfully completed. This requires the equivalent of 12 days of full-time attendance plus some assessment, and covers advocacy and communication skills, financial and business skills, and client care and professional standards. It will build on material already covered in the LPC.
Once these requirements have been fulfilled and certified, you can apply to the Master of the Rolls to be "admitted to the Roll" ie join the list of all solicitors of the Supreme Court. This will then allow you to apply for a practising certificate as a solicitor.