Equivalent Means: Am I Eligible?

  • by Jack J Collins, Editor of AllAboutLaw.co.uk

So you’re wondering about whether you’re eligible to qualify for an equivalent means qualification?  You’re in the right place.

Let’s break it down

To become a solicitor as of the moment, the SRA requires you to have completed two distinct stages:

  1. Academia: Either a qualifying law degree (LLB), or a non-law degree followed by the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).
  2. Vocation: The Legal Practice Course (LPC) and the Professional Skills Course (PSC); and either a training contract; or a period of recognised training, approved by the SRA.

So, first things first, you need to have either a law degree or another degree combined with the conversion (GDL) qualification.

From there, you need to have also completed the LPC, or the Legal Practice Course, which is the start of vocational training.

There’s also the matter of the Professional Skills Course, which most people complete as part of their training contracts. However, if you want to go down the Equivalent Means route, you’ll need to attain this qualification on your own.

Paralegals

This is where the paths diverge. Most aspiring solicitors will take on a training contract at this point. If you haven’t done this, that’s fine, but there’s a selection of criteria you’ll need to fulfil if you want to apply for qualification by equivalent means.

  • You must have experience in (at the very least) three distinct and different areas of English and Welsh law.
  • You must have completed (at the very least) two years of relevant experience at law firms and in legal departments.

The Application

The application itself is a lengthy and rigorous process. You’ll need to complete a long and detailed application form which details every single aspect of the work experience highlighted above, as well as a host of supporting evidence.

You’ll need at least a few personal references from the people that have supervised you during your efforts and there’s also a fee of £600 to contend with.

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