Do I need to do a training contract before I sit SQE2?
SQE2 is the final set of exams you need to complete on your journey to becoming a solicitor. Once you pass the exam, you can apply to be admitted to the roll of solicitors. However, you may be surprised to know you do not have to carry out your training contract or work experience before the SQE2.
Is doing a training contract mandatory for SQE2?
One of the changes that has come with the introduction of SQE2 is that undertaking a training contract is no longer required. Instead, you have to do two years of full-time Qualifying Work Experience (QWE). QWE can be any legal work, such as a placement, pro bono work or your previous work as a paralegal.
Training contracts will still be available, but they will no longer be compulsory. The only requirements are that the work must be done at no more than four different legal enterprises and be signed off by a solicitor who is qualified to practise in England and Wales.
Should I do my QWE before SQE2?
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to finish your QWE before you do SQE2. Despite this, there are still benefits of doing it this way. Firstly, your QWE helps you learn more practical legal skills as you work, which will be helpful when it comes to studying for the exam.
Learning on the job and putting what you have learnt into practice will ensure you have a better understanding of the law. Another benefit of doing your QWE beforehand is that you get to relax after the exam. Preparation for the SQE2 is incredibly stressful and takes up a lot of your time and energy. As a result, you may wish to take a break and relax after you have finished the exam instead of going straight into work.
Can I do my QWE after SQE2?
There are also benefits of doing QWE after SQE2. Studying for the SQE2 while doing your QWE can be very stressful and difficult to balance. If you fall behind on your studies and fail, you will have to pay again to retake the exam. However, if you fall behind on your QWE, you may find that the company is unwilling to sign off on your work, which can be very frustrating if you have worked there for a while. Doing them separately allows you to devote more time to both.
What do I do after I’ve finished both SQE2 and QWE?
Once you have completed your QWE and passed SQE2, you will be able to apply to be admitted as a solicitor. You will receive an email eight weeks before the end of your training inviting you to apply, although you will need to have passed the SQE2 before you can apply.
However, before this, you will have to go through screening to assess your ‘character and suitability.’ This is not an exam but rather checking your identity, financial history and criminal records. You will also have to disclose any crimes you have committed and how you have been rehabilitated. Once you have gone through screening, you will pay £100 and choose the date you wish to be admitted.
You will receive an Admission certificate online and will be included on the roll of solicitors within 24 hours. The final step will be participating at an admission ceremony in London, although attendance is not mandatory.