You’ll be able to sit the exams that make up the SQE2, the more practical half of the assessment trainee solicitors are required to complete, once you’ve passed all of the SQE1 exams.
It’s expected that the SQE1 will be taken before the start of a training contract - or an equivalent period of legal work experience, as permitted under the new SQE regulations. As such, the SQE2 will be undertaken once the applicant has begun their placement, and will come nearer the end of their two years’ worth of experience in a legal workplace.
However, there will also be a six-year window, once you’ve passed the SQE1 exam, in which you need to complete the exam - this is to accommodate for those who are studying part-time.
Once you’ll have finished and passed the exams, all you’ll have left to do is to complete your qualifying work experience and pass the SRA’s character test in order to be added to the roll of solicitors.
Details on the SQE2 exam
The SRA have planned for various exam periods throughout the year, so there will be some level of flexibility in terms of sitting SQE exams. For the 2021-22 academic year - when it will be first introduced - these are November, April, May, and October in the following year. The November and May sessions will be dedicated to the SQE1 exams, while in April and October the SQE2 assessments will take place. You’ll need to apply to enter these at least two months beforehand, which is when the deadlines are expected to be set.
It will consist of 14 hours’ worth of both written and oral exams, testing a range of practical skills a legal professional is expected to have as well as aspects of technical ‘black letter law’ knowledge.
The entrance fee amounts to £2422, which is a considerable decrease from previous years’ GDL and LPC fees. However, you should bear in mind that this fee only covers the assessment, as the SQE only consists of an exam. This means that it’ll be a good idea to look into signing up to a preparation course given by a third party, such as The University of Law.