You’ll be eligible to start applying for SQE training courses from when you’ve finished your undergraduate degree, which can either be in a law-related subject or in a different field, and can also be a Level 6 qualification that’s equivalent to a university degree.
Nevertheless, although it will provide all prospective solicitors with the same qualifying route, there are a range of ways to complete the SQE once it comes into force at the end of 2021. This means that you should take into account the pathway you’re taking when considering when to apply for a training course ahead of sitting your SQE1 and SQE2 exams.
If you’re studying a non-qualifying law degree, you should think about applying to an SQE course before the end of your degree - bear in mind that deadlines for this can vary between providers so you should make sure you stay on top of the details for each course you might be interested in.
Future trainee solicitors
In other cases, you won’t need to worry about deadlines as the SQE preparation will already be accounted for. You might have also begun applying for training contracts before the final year of your law degree, in which case it might be the case that your firm will have already picked out an institution at which you’ll be completing the SQE training course. This means that, should you secure a placement, you won’t need to apply to a course to prepare, as this would be paid for by your employer.
When undertaking a solicitor apprenticeship, a section of your time will be dedicated towards studying for the qualifications you need to then apply to be added to the roll of solicitors at the end of your training. It’s likely that here as well the SQE training will be integrated so that a provider is found by your employer to deliver the preparation needed to sit the exams.