The changes that are being made to the way graduates qualify as solicitors mean that everyone will go through the same process, regardless of academic background. This means that in order to enter the initial SQE1 series of exams, you’ll need to have completed an undergraduate degree in any subject, or obtained a qualification at the same level, such as a degree apprenticeship.
As a result, the distinction between Qualifying Law Degrees and other courses will become redundant in administrative terms, as everyone will take the same exams. Non-law students will no longer have to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law after graduation as is currently the case.
However, it’s clear that undertaking a law degree will still have a range of advantages even after the SQE reform, which will come into effect starting from autumn 2021. The main benefit is the core legal knowledge that an LLB or a similar course will equip you with, as the SQE1 exams will mainly be based on ‘black letter law’.
This consists of the modules of a law degree which would have been required for it to be recognised as a Qualifying Law Degree. Having studied these components, you’ll be able to take the SQE1 exams earlier than your peers who would have to undertake a preparatory course to acquire the technical knowledge to pass the assessments.
Employability advantages of doing a law degree
Another advantage of doing a law degree over studying another course is that you’ll be able to apply for training contracts from the summer of your second year, rather than after completing the GDL as would be the case for non-law students.
Although vacation schemes and training contracts are open to all academic backgrounds - especially as law firms are interested in hiring from a range of areas of expertise - doing a law degree will give you the upper hand when it comes to applying for these placements early on.