Solicitors work with clients advising and negotiating cases. City will help you prepare for the role of a solicitor with providing the appropriate knowledge and skills required.
Solicitors represent the largest sector of legal employment, working in firms advising clients (individuals and companies) or working within businesses in their legal departments.
September 2023 entry: Solicitors Qualifying Exam
The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) is a new way to qualify as a solicitor, introduced in autumn 2021 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Under the rules laid down by the SRA, you must have a degree (or equivalent) before you can take the SQE. It does not have to be a law degree (and non-law graduates are not required to have a GDL). However, firms of solicitors are likely to favour candidates with a law degree or GDL, and our advice would be to obtain a law degree (or for non-law graduates a GDL) before embarking on the SQE.
Passing the Solicitors Qualifying Examinations (SQE1 and SQE2) is one of the requirements to become a solicitor. SQE1 tests what is called “Functioning Legal Knowledge” across a wide range of areas of law. SQE2 tests the practical legal skills you will need as a solicitor. You must pass SQE1 before you can attempt SQE2.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority does not require you to attend a training programme before attempting the SQE assessments. However, the SQE assessments are very challenging ones, and doing a preparation course will increase your chances of passing those assessments.
The SQE assessments require careful and systematic preparation, and this is best achieved through a structured preparation course. A preparation course which includes an academic qualification (as well as helping you to pass the SQE assessments) is also likely to enhance your employability.
You must also complete qualifying work experience (QWE) to become a solicitor - this can be done before or after passing the SQE assessments. The total QWE required is 2 years (full-time or full-time equivalent), and it can be split into a maximum of 4 blocks at different organisations (law firms or other organisations providing legal services).
Doing some QWE before attempting the SQE assessments, especially SQE2 (skills), may enhance your chance of passing the assessments. On the other hand, having passed SQE1 and SQE2 could make you more attractive to a potential employer and make it easier for you to find QWE.
For 2023/24, we will be launching our new Solicitors' Practice Programme, which is designed to prepare students for the SQE as well as for a career as a solicitor.
What can I expect from a career as a solicitor?
The variety of work will depend on the type of firm you choose to work for, but in general a solicitor will have excellent organisational, interpersonal and communication skills and a flair for problem-solving.
The main working activities of a solicitor include:
- Meeting clients (this may initially involve establishing whether the support or advice wanted can be provided)
- Advising clients on the law and taking instructions
- Drafting and reviewing documents and contracts and analysing information
- Negotiating on behalf clients
- Undertaking research to ensure that accurate advice is given and that correct procedure is followed
- Acting on behalf of clients and sometimes representing them in court
- Instructing barristers to provide advice and/or representation in court and attending court to sit behind the barrister
- Keeping up to date on changes and developments in the law by reading and attending courses.
Relevant courses at City
City's courses can help you take one step closer to a career as a solicitor, develop specialisms that'll set you apart from the field or broaden your horizons with study in related subjects.