The next generation of lawyer.
Student information pack
Updated 19 July 2017
Information for students, and others, wishing to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales
Status of this document
This document sets out the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) requirements for individuals seeking to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. It also contains non-mandatory guidance for people who want to become qualified as a solicitor of England and Wales. Please note that in April 2017 the SRA Board approved the introduction of a Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) which will fundamentally change the process of qualification as a solicitor.
Overview of the regulatory framework
The SRA has a statutory duty to ensure that those who are admitted as solicitors have the knowledge and skills necessary for practice. We do this by specifying the education and training that an individual must complete. These requirements are set out in the Training Regulations 2014 – Qualification and Provider Regulations.
It is possible to qualify as a solicitor through by completing an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship will need to meet the requirements of the Apprenticeship Standard for a solicitor (England) or the Level 7 Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Practice (Wales) including passing an assessment conducted by the SRA or approved by the SRA.
The regulations refer to two key stages to qualifying as a solicitor:
- the academic stage
- the vocational stage
The academic stage is achieved by either a university degree in law or a university degree in a different subject and completing the Common Professional Examination (CPE) sometimes also referred to as the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).
The vocational stage comprises
- the Legal Practice Course (LPC),
- a period of recognised training of two years (PRT), and
- the Professional Skills Course (PSC).
Overview of education and training requirements
There are a number of ways that an individual can complete the academic stage of training but if you are studying or intend to study in a UK university, the usual routes to qualifying are by either first completing a qualifying law degree (QLD) at a UK university, or a degree in a different subject at a UK university and the Common Professional Examination (CPE), sometimes also called the Graduate Diploma in Law or GDL.
This is then followed by completion of the Legal Practice Course (LPC), a postgraduate professional qualification which prepares you for work-based learning; and finally by completing a period of recognised training and the Professional Skills Course.
To be eligible to commence training and to be admitted as a solicitor, you will also have to meet our requirements as to character and suitability.