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Qualifying as a solicitor

  • Qualifying as a solicitor is challenging, involving both exams and a substantial training period, and you will have to fund your studies (see more information on the costs of costs of qualifying).

    You'll need to be determined and highly motivated, as it will take at least three years to train if you are a law graduate, at least four years if you are a non-law graduate and at least six years if you are not a graduate.

    table of years to qualify as a solicitor

    You will also need to:

    • have strong academic ability
    • compete to win a place
    • be able to meet the costs of qualifying
    • find a firm that will supervise you while you complete your training

    Routes to qualifying

    There are a number of routes to qualify to practise as a solicitor in England and Wales. The most common is the 'graduate route', which means taking either a law degree or other degree followed by a Graduate Diploma in Law course, followed by the Legal Practice Course and a period of recognised training. The sections on the left contain details of all routes into the profession.

    After you have successfully completed the academic and vocational stages of training, you can apply to be registered with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). This register is referred to as the roll of solicitors in England and Wales.

    Once registered, you can apply for your first practising certificate. This entitles you to practise as a solicitor, and it's at this stage you become a member of the Law Society of England and Wales. All solicitors are subject to continuing professional development requirements.

    Read more information about the roll and membership of the Law Society.

    Apprenticeships represent an alternative to the traditional graduate route to qualification, and it's now possible to qualify as a solicitor this way. The standards expected of apprentice solicitors are the same as those expected of all solicitors, with rigorous assessments before they are admitted to the profession. For more information please visit our apprenticeships page.

    The SRA is the regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales and sets the regulations and standards for the solicitors' profession, including entry and training requirements. The SRA is currently undertaking a major review of entry and training into the legal profession. For the latest information see the SRA website or the Law Society's legal education and training policy page.