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.
Legal Practice Course: September 2022 Entry
September 2022 entry: Legal Practice Course (LPC)
If you are currently studying for a law degree or (if you have a non-law degree, doing GDL conversion programme), you can qualify as a solicitor by completing the Legal Practice Course (LPC) if you enrol for the September 2022 entry.
At City, this programme is taught at master's level and its structure and content fully meet the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) requirements.
On completion of the LPC, 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.
The training contract stage is a period of practice-based training to obtain practical experience and learn how to apply the skills developed on the LPC. 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.
This is an opportunity for a law firm to assess your potential as a solicitor in their firm. What you learn during your training contract will depend on the type of firm in which you train and the solicitors who supervise you.
You will also need to undertake the Professional Skills Course (PSC) in order to fully qualify as a solicitor.
The PSC aims to ensure you have gained the appropriate knowledge and skills and 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.
Applications for a training contract are made directly to the law firms you are interested in applying to.
The City Law School understand the importance of obtaining a training contract and provide support to all LPC students via the Training Contract Advisory Service (TCAS), a specialist team of LPC tutors, who will help you with the process of identifying suitable firms and applying to them, as well as providing help and advice on interview skills.
Once these requirements have been fulfilled and certified, you can apply to the Master of the Rolls to be "admitted to the Roll" i.e. join the list of all solicitors of the Supreme Court. This will then allow you to apply for a practising certificate as a solicitor.
Solicitors Qualifying Exam: September 2023 entry
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.
The SQE replaces the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at The City Law School.
The City Law School will still be offering the LPC in the academic year 2022/23, but this will be that last year that we offer the LPC.
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.