I took the LPC 10 years ago. Is it too late to train as a solicitor?

Will the SQE assist someone of Black, Asian or minority ethnic background who took the LPC 10 years ago still searching for a training contract, or is it too late to pursue a career as a solicitor?

The Legal Practice Course (LPC) does not expire. Realistically though, after 10 years, employers may not feel that it’s recent enough to take that person on for training to become a solicitor, depending on what work they’re currently doing.

The transitional arrangements from the LPC to the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) mean that there’s still time to finish on the route you started on, although this is now limited.

Candidates who have started or accepted an offer of a training place before September 2021 can continue on the existing route and complete a period of recognised training (a training contract).

There are a couple of routes you could look at, depending on your circumstances.

Equivalent means

Under current arrangements, you may be able to apply for an exemption under equivalent means.

Equivalent means allows the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to recognise a candidate’s work-based learning, and grant exemption from the qualification and training requirements such as the period of recognised training.

You essentially need to show how the work that you have been doing meets the training requirements.

See the information pack on the SRA website

SQE

Once the SQE becomes available in September 2021, you’ll be able to apply to sit the SQE1 and SQE2 assessments.

(It’s assumed that you have a degree-level qualification, since you have taken the LPC.)

You’ll then need to complete qualifying work experience (QWE) but, depending on your circumstances, you may be able to use work you’re currently doing. If it meets the requirements, you can ask a solicitor to confirm it for you.

For more information, see our guidance on the SQE and its requirements and cost.

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

Have you got a practice question?

Call the Practice Advice Service on 020 7320 5675 or email practiceadvice@lawsociety.org.uk.

The Practice Advice Service is staffed Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

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