Tag: SQE

What is the SQE and what does it entail?

The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) was introduced in September 2021 to replace the old legal education system of undertaking the GDL and LPC.

The SQE is split into two parts: SQE1 and SQE2. Candidates will also need to complete two years of qualifying work experience (QWE) before applying to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to be admitted to the roll of solicitors.


In SQE1 you will be tested on ‘functioning legal knowledge’, which tests your application of law based on realistic client-based scenarios in multiple choice questions.

The assessments will cover subjects you will have studied on a law degree or a conversion course, as well as the vocational practice areas in stage 1 of the LPC.

SQE1 is split into two Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK) assessments. These assessments will take the form of multiple-choice papers with 180 questions each, covering all aspects of the SQE1 syllabus.

FLK 1 will cover:

  • Business Law and practice
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Contract
  • Tort
  • Legal System of England and Wales
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law and EU Law and Legal Services
  • Ethics and Professional Conduct (examined in both)

FLK 2 will cover:

  • Property Practice
  • Wills and the Administration of Estates
  • Solicitors Accounts
  • Land Law
  • Trusts
  • Criminal Law and Practice
  • Ethics and Professional Conduct (examined in both)

You must pass SQE1 before being eligible to sit the SQE2 assessments.


In SQE2 you will be tested on six practical legal skills required for practice, including:

  • Interviewing (with written attendance note/legal analysis)
  • Advocacy
  • Legal research
  • Legal drafting
  • Legal writing
  • Case and matter analysis
  • The above skills will be tested across the practice areas of:
  • Criminal Litigation
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Property Practice
  • Wills and Intestacy, Probate Administration and Practice
  • Business organisations, rules and procedures

The exam takes place over five days

Kennedys Virtual SQE Insight Event

Are you looking to find out more about Kennedys SQE training programme before making an application?

Kennedys is hosting a virtual insight event on Thursday 15 December from 12pm – 1pm for students who are interested in the SQE Training Programme and are looking to make an application this year.

Hear from the Early Careers team about the recruitment process and also our SQE trainees who will give an insight into the programme and their training experience so far. There will also be a Q&A session.

Kennedys will be running this event via Microsoft Teams Live in order to host an unlimited amount of candidates.

Registration closes on Monday 12 December. Upon registering, Kennedys will send you the link to the event.


BARBRI acquires SQE provider Kaplan Altior in preparation for education market overhaul

Legal education provider BARBRI International has accelerated its plans to move into the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) prep market by acquiring UK-based training and assessment provider Kaplan Altior.

The acquisition was completed 30 November, and the new business BARBRI Altior will offer training courses including the Professional Skills Course (PSC) for trainee solicitors and preparation for the controversial SQE, which is set to be launched in 2021. The buyout will see all Kaplan Altior employees join the new company, which will operate from the same centres throughout the UK.

It also follows BARBRI teaming up with The College of Legal Practice last month, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The College of Law Australia and New Zealand. BARBRI’s partnership with The College provides a challenge to the effective duopoly of solicitor training in England and Wales, which has seen BPP and University of Law dominate.

BARBRI is mostly known for providing training to prepare for US Bar examinations, which are broadly similar to the format being adopted for parts of the SQE. Acquiring competency in PSC delivery also aids BARBRI in providing SQE preparation, with much of the PSC being integrated into the exam. Kaplan, meanwhile, emerged as the winner of the race to develop the SQE in 2018.

Speaking to Legal Business in November, BARBRI managing director Sarah Hutchinson (pictured) stressed the provider was well equipped to deliver SQE prep: ‘BARBRI has been in the market for over 50 years in the US, preparing about 28,000 students every year. There are about 35,000 new attorneys every year and BARBRI has a large market share: in the US we are by far the largest and longest established company. A big proportion of the US Bar exam is also multiple choice so we have a lot of experience on how to prepare people for a multiple choice test.’

BARBRI’s ramped-up presence comes after one of the incumbent providers, BPP, was earlier this week chosen by a consortium of six leading firms to provide SQE preparation. The firms are looking to broadly mirror the current education regime by maintaining core elements of the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and having prospective solicitors sit parts one and two of the exam prior to undertaking work experience.

The SQE’s introduction replaces a long-standing system of 30 years, uprooting the LPC and the two-year training contract. Now prospective solicitors need only pass a final, centralised exam divided into two parts and hold two years of qualifying work experience available from a wider range of employers.

K&L Gates advised BARBRI on the acquisition with a team spearheaded by London partner James Cross.


This article first appeared on Legal Business

Six City firms appoint BPP to deliver ‘super-exam’ prep courses amid education shake-up

BPP has been chosen by a consortium of six leading firms to provide Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) preparation, as the City gears up for an incoming education overhaul.

The consortium is comprised of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), Hogan Lovells, Linklaters, Norton Rose Fulbright and Slaughter and May.  BPP will now design an education and skills programme to train future trainees at the firms.

‘We were sceptical [of the SQE] but the time for those discussions is in the past,’ Hogan Lovells pensions partner Edward Brown told Legal Business. ‘Now we’re taking advantage of the deregulation.’

The existing education regime requires a student to hold a law degree (or non-law degree plus a graduate diploma in law) and a one-year Legal Practice Course (LPC) followed by a two-year training contract at a law firm. The SQE will uproot this model, with prospective solicitors instead needing only to hold a degree or equivalent, pass an exam divided into two parts and have two years of qualifying work experience from a wider group of employers.

The appointment by the consortium suggests the ongoing domination of legal education by BPP and University of Law (ULaw) will persist. In total three providers were considered by the firms before BPP was chosen, with some observers surprised University of Law was not appointed. However, in a potential challenge to the existing duopoly, Australia’s leading legal training outfit launched in the UK last week through The College of Legal Practice.

The six firms are also hoping candidates will sit the first and second parts of the controversial exam before entering the workplace, despite the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s suggestion SQE 2 should be sat after work experience.

‘It’s easy to complain law firms are being conservative and not moving with the times,’ HSF partner Tim West told Legal Business. ‘But this is a root-and-branch change to the training of lawyers and ensures they are prepared from day one.’

While the courses are still being designed by BPP, West and Brown suggested technology will receive greater emphasis in the new programmes. The firms will also be taking existing components of the LPC and further tailoring them to the requirements of City law.

BPP will deliver the new suite of programmes for prospective trainees from autumn 2021. Subject to changes made by the regulator, trainees will sit the SQE in or around November 2022. The first intake of trainees affected should be joining the consortium’s firms in spring 2023.


This article first appeared on Legal Business.

Deloitte launches first-of-its-kind SQE training contract

Accountancy leader Deloitte has devised a three-year training contract which aligns with the requirement of the hotly-anticipated solicitors qualification examination (SQE) which is due to launch in the autumn of 2021.

The big four accountancy giant announced that it will offer ten training contracts beginning in 2020. Applications are open as of today (10 September).

Successful candidates will be able to enrol on the programme straight after graduating from university, with the end goal of qualifying as a solicitor three years later. Trainees will gain qualifying work experience across Deloitte Legal’s myriad practice areas, including tax litigation, employment and corporate and commercial before sitting the SQE1 and SQE2 exams.

Deloitte has worked closely with The University of Law to develop an innovative training programme to ensure students are prepared for the SQE.

Michael Castle, UK managing partner for Deloitte Legal, said: “The legal training environment is undergoing significant change to contend with a rapidly evolving legal landscape. Deloitte Legal is in the fortunate position of being able to immediately adopt the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam, allowing us to be at the forefront of what is undoubtedly an exciting new era in legal education and training.

“We want to broaden access to the profession and make it as inclusive as possible. This is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring solicitors to earn while they learn, while also encountering the wealth of expertise beyond legal work that Deloitte Legal can offer as a multidisciplinary firm.

“Deloitte Legal is a fast-growing and ambitious team that provides clients with new solutions to legal problems. Our trainees will be able to experience the future of law, today.”

Professor Andrea Nollent, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of ULaw, said: “It has always been hugely important for us to nurture the next generation of legal talent. With the new SQE Training Contracts allowing students to experience the real legal world earlier in their career and education, we are now able to team with leading organisations such as Deloitte to continue our aim of providing a more practical and hands-on legal education.”