Did you know it’s possible to become a solicitor of England and Wales without obtaining a law degree? With a degree in any subject, you now have the SQE route to qualifying completely available to you.
My childhood friend has been in information technology for nearly a decade – now starting over and venturing into law. He says it’s the chance of a lifetime to bring to the table your degree and knowledge in information technology, as well as a sufficient understanding of the law. That can open to you such legal tech jobs as data analysts in intellectual property law, specialists in litigation tech support, and privacy managers, to name but a few.
The key requirement in qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales is passing the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). The SQE – or super exam as it’s called – includes two assessments, SQE1 and SQE2, both testing the same subject matter (functional legal knowledge), but through vastly different methodologies. While SQE Stage 1 is designed as an all too familiar multiple-choice test, SQE Stage 2 is a unique assessment seeking to evaluate the aspiring solicitor’s legal skills, both oral and written.
The skills assessment puts extra strain on aspiring solicitors preparing for the SQE2, as intellectual understanding is no longer enough – there’s no skill building without practicing. The good news here is that based on recent research, picking up the essentials of a skill can be achieved in just 20 hours of focused and deliberate practice. What can add extra value to these critical hours of practice is interaction with an experienced tutor who will offer extensive feedback and make suggestions for growth and improvement. With this strategy for exam preparation, you learn legal skills through:
- sometimes messing up,
- getting corrective feedback,
- reconsidering your approach, and
- practicing again.
Add to this diligent reading of law books, as well as unfailing faith and support from your loved ones – and the SQE2 challenge is totally within your grasp.