Qualifying with a law degree
The qualification system for solicitors has changed. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has introduced a new route to qualifying as a solicitor: the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).
This page covers the previous system, which applied until autumn 2021, and still applies during the 10-year transition period to 2031 if you’re already on the path to qualifying.
There’s a lot of competition to get a place on a law degree course. Usually you need at least three good grades at A-level in academic subjects.
You must complete your degree within six years, full or part-time.
You'll learn subjects known as the foundations of legal knowledge:
- obligations including contract, restitution and tort
- criminal law
- equity and trusts
- public law including constitutional law, administrative law and human rights
- property law
- law of the European Union
You must get at least 40% in your exams for each subject to become a solicitor. It does not matter if the pass mark set by the place you're studying at is lower than this.
If you do not pass the exams the first time, you can try two more times.
See the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) list of places you can study the qualifying law degree – organisations offering courses full or part-time.
Apply to study law through UCAS.
Checklist for law undergraduates
Many students take a three-year degree course. These checklists give you an idea of the work you should do each year to position yourself for a job at the end of your studies.
- Choose your subjects for your second and third years, making sure you cover the foundation subjects
- Talk to careers advisers about the profession
- Find vacation placement work to help you understand different types of firms, decide if the profession is right for you
- Think about where you want to work and what area of law you want to work in
- Continue to use your careers service
- Apply for vacation placement work
- Attend law fairs and open days to meet firms face to face
- Talk to members of the profession
- Research the type of organisation that interests you and prepare your CV
- Think about how you'll fund your professional training period
- Apply for a period of training in your final term, often known as a training contract
- Attend interviews for a period of recognised training
- Apply for a place on the Legal Practice Course (LPC)
- Enrol as a student member of the SRA (optional)
- Disclose any character or suitability issues to the SRA
- Get a certificate of completion from your teaching institution for the academic stage of your training (no longer an SRA requirement)
- Apply for a period of training if you have not already
You must then complete the Legal Practice Course and period of recognised training.
Qualifying as a disabled student
Education providers such as universities must make reasonable adjustments for disabled people if they are at a substantial disadvantage. For example, they must:
- make special arrangements for exams and assignments, such as giving you extra time or special equipment
- give you materials in a range of formats
- give you support with study skills
- make sure the exam room suits your needs
Before starting your course at university, you should:
- give advance notice of your needs
- make sure you declare your disability and your requirements at least one month before starting the course, if you haven’t in your application
If you’re a student with a learning difficulty, health problem or disability, you can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover any extra study-related costs.
You can get DSAs on top of your student finance. You will not need to repay DSAs.