To sit the SQE1 exams, you will need to have completed an undergraduate degree, or an equivalent level 6 qualification - this can be in any subject and doesn’t necessarily need to be a Qualifying Law Degree such as the LLB.
You will no longer need to have taken a training course, as the Solicitors Regulation Authority has established that the GDL and LPC would be replaced by one set of assessments, divided into two exam series, for all prospective solicitors. However, it’s recommended that you take on a preparation course in the lead-up to sitting the SQE, as offered by institutions across the country such as The University of Law.
Will having a law degree be beneficial?
The type of preparation course you take however, is likely to depend on whether you’ve done a law degree or not. Having completed an LLB, you will have undertaken modules covering the key tenets of Functioning Legal Knowledge, which the SQE1 exams will be based on.
This means that your training towards the assessment will be less rigorous than that of a candidate who is coming from a non-law background, and will need to learn these aspects of law from scratch. These are the core law subjects that would make your degree a Qualifying Law Degree, and include criminal, tort, contract, land, equity, constitutional and EU law.
As such, the entry requirements for an SQE course is likely to depend on the academic route you’ve taken beforehand. There will be a range of courses to take, including part-time and full-time options, as well as different programmes for LLB graduates and non-law students, who would effectively be taking a conversion course integrated with SQE preparation.
You should also bear in mind that many law firms have singled out a specific provider to prepare their future trainees for the SQE exams, for which the first round of assessments is scheduled for November 2021.