In anticipation of the fundamental changes about to take place in legal education, the Law Society has published an insight into the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) intended to replace the existing route to qualifying.
The SQE signifies a fundamental shift in how solicitors train and qualify and many solicitors are understandably concerned about what this means for them,
said Law Society president Christina Blacklaws.
This document contains the facts. They have been checked by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for accuracy and they represent a comprehensive round-up of everything we currently know,
The new centrally set ‘super-exam’ is expected in 2020 and will involve important decisions for anyone thinking of entering the profession, or those already some way along the road to becoming a solicitor. There is a particular need for clarity ahead of the lengthy transitional period while the new system is phased in.
Christina Blacklaws went on to say:
The development of the SQE is a long process, which we are only part-way through. More information on key aspects – the assessment detail, costs and implementation timetable – will be forthcoming as the assessments are developed and the SRA complete further work. Therefore, this document will be updated to include any additional information as it is announced.
The introduction of the SQE is of fundamental importance to the profession and to everyone seeking legal advice and it is crucial the SRA gets it right. The Law Society is supportive of the SRA taking the necessary time to consider the detail fully, with the continued input of stakeholders. The Law Society continues to engage with the profession, and with the SRA on behalf of the profession.
It is important that those affected begin thinking about how the SQE may impact on them and/or their business and consider any changes they may need to make. For example, law firms will be preparing to oversee implementation of the SQE and helping to guide graduate trainees through their qualification as solicitors.
Maintaining high professional standards and ensuring the diversity of the solicitors’ profession have been top priorities for the Law Society from the very start of the SQE process. We want to enable potential entrants to the profession to make informed choices about which route may be best for them and we hope this overview is valuable to schools, universities and careers advisers.
The overview outlines what is currently known about the SRA’s plans for the SQE and it may assist aspiring solicitors, employers, providers of legal education and other organisations offering training in deciding what they can do to prepare at this stage.
It can be found on the Law Society’s website at www.lawsociety.org.uk/law-careers/becoming-a-solicitor/sqe-overview/