If you’re taking the SQE route to become a qualified solicitor, you need to complete two years of full-time qualifying work experience (QWE).
QWE is essentially gaining practical experience of providing legal services that will allow you to develop and enhance the core competences that are needed to successfully practice as a solicitor.
Any QWE that you undertake must be confirmed by a solicitor or compliance offer for legal practice.
What counts as QWE?
Unlike the LPC which requires you to undertake a two-year training contract, typically in one firm, the SQE enables you to complete your QWE in up to four organisations. This time can be taken in one full block or in different stages – whichever works best for you. It can also be taken at any time during your SQE journey.
This gives you the opportunity to gain experience within a variety of different firms, while providing the flexibility to balance your QWE and your studies.
Where can I gain QWE?
The Solicitors Regulation Authority states that QWE can comprise of paid or volunteer work which may include the following:
- On placement during a law degree
- Working in a law clinic
- At a voluntary or charitable organisation
- Working as a paralegal
- On a training contract
When can I undertake QWE?
You can begin your QWE at any point during your SQE journey. If you wanted to start gaining experience now and ‘bank’ this for when the SQE comes into place later this year, this is entirely possible.
The full two years of QWE must be completed and signed off by a qualified solicitor and/or compliance officer for legal practice before you apply for admission as a solicitor.
How can I secure my QWE?
It’s time to take advantage of the flexibility QWE offers under the SQE route. Make connections and discuss opportunities with your current or perspective employer to find out what training is available to you.
BPP has connections with leading law firms within the UK and further afield. Through our focus on employability and our careers service, we can assist you with networking opportunities to help secure your QWE.