Once it is phased in from autumn 2021, the SQE1 exam will act as the first batch of exams that make up the assessment side of the SQE, the standardised route that all prospective solicitors will take.
It’s expected that you work towards completing it as soon as you graduate, whether you’ve studied law at university or gained a level 6 qualification in another subject. This means that the SQE1 will not be included in any undergraduate degree, as getting a qualification at that level will be a prerequisite for signing up to the exam in the first place.
Will a law degree help me?
However, there’s no doubt that doing a law degree will help you get a head start on the content that will form the basis of the SQE1 exams. These assessments look to test your foundational legal knowledge - currently, these are the subjects within a law degree which allow it to be certified as a Qualifying Legal Degree (QLD), and mean that you wouldn’t need to undertake a law conversion course before taking the Legal Practice Course. It consists of the areas of law which a newly qualified solicitor is expected to have some level of knowledge in.
As the SQE reform aims to make the route towards qualifying as a solicitor the same for all regardless of academic background, this distinction will no longer be relevant when deciding what your next step will be. However, it means that you will have covered much of the content included in these exams, as they look to test this foundational knowledge, or ‘black letter law’.