Stages To Becoming a Solicitor

Stages to Becoming a Solicitor

Becoming a solicitor is a tough and difficult process, it can span across almost a decade but can be very rewarding in the end. This article will explain each step along the process explaining what each part consists of and how to get to the next step.

University

The beginning of the process starts at university, getting a law degree is the quickest route to becoming a solicitor. To become a solicitor your degree must be a qualifying law degree, this means that the degree is recognised by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority as containing the seven core modules. These modules are:

  • Tort law
  • European Union Law
  • Contract Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Land Law
  • Equity and Trusts
  • Constitutional Law

While many think a law degree is essential to becoming a solicitor this is not the case, instead any university degree is accepted provided that you complete the Graduate Diploma in Law afterward. The GDL is a year-long course that fits in all of the core modules. 

This section of the process usually takes around 3 years – however, can take up to 4 years depending on whether you take the GDL.

After university, there are currently two options, these are the Solicitors Qualification Exam and the Legal Practice Course.

The LPC

The LPC is the usual route however is not slowly being phased out in favour of an SQE route only. The LPC is a postgraduate degree taken before your training contract. The course can be taken over a range of time periods:

  • There is an accelerated version that takes six months
  • The usual length is a year
  • However, it can be taken as a part-time course over two years 

The course consists of getting you ready for a career as a solicitor, it focuses on teaching the core work a law firm does by having modules such as:

  • Commercial Law
  • Employment Law
  • Banking and Finance Law
  • And many more commercial and corporate law modules

Furthermore, the LPC attempts to enhance the student’s commercial awareness and critical thinking. Overall, not only does it teach the law and the facts but also helps the student become a more skilled lawyer also.

Training Contract

A training contract is a two-year-long process which is taken at a law firm, it consists of four different seats in different areas of law. During a training contract, you are immersed in a law firm where you learn by experiencing tasks as a solicitor. 

This is when you are a trainee solicitor and begin getting responsibility, your tasks may include:

  • Drafting documents such as contracts, NDAs, and more
  • Attending meetings
  • Interviewing clients
  • General administrative tasks.

Sometimes during this time, you can also do a six-month secondment, this involves going to work in-house with a client. This isn’t very common so it’s important to look at what law firms offer this if it is something you are interested in.

The SQE

The Solicitors Qualifying Exam is a 30-month course that combines the educational and the vocational aspects of the qualification.

This involves completing two stages and also completing two years of qualifying work experience. The two stages both involve exams that you must pass which test how you apply knowledge to real-life scenarios and also assesses your core skills. Qualifying law experience can involve volunteering work and also paralegal work. 

After passing these stages and the qualifying work experience then you become a qualified solicitor and begin working as an associate.

Associate to Partner

An associate does similar tasks to what you would do during your training contract or SQE. The roles generally involve completing the day-to-day tasks for your clients. They will generally do less or no administrative work and will focus on client work

This can include

  • Legal research into clients’ issues
  • Interviewing and advising clients
  • Can also involve supervising paralegals or legal assistants
  • Drafting documents

Later on in your career you will become a partner, this role is much more senior and during this time you won’t be doing any of the tasks that an associate does, instead, you will have a much more managerial role 

Tasks include

  • Managing associates and the workload of the firm 
  • Establishing and maintaining good client relations
  • Establishing organisational tactics and strategies

Conclusion

The stage of becoming a solicitor is a long one however once you qualify it can be very lucrative, rewarding, and enjoyable. Check out the ‘Law Jobs’ section to see what solicitor roles we currently have available. Also, for those interested in the salary of a solicitor then check out the Legists Salary Checker.

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