Supporting you through the new route to qualification.
The Solicitors Qualifying Examination
What is the SQE?
The Solicitors Qualification Examination (SQE) is a new route to qualification which replaces the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and the Professional Skills Course (PSC). Anyone wanting to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales will need to complete the SQE.
The SQE will apply to all our London and Milton Keynes trainees starting from August 2024 onwards. Our Scottish trainees will continue to complete the Diploma.
The New Trainee Route to Qualification
The SQE opens up a number of pathways to qualification, which all include completing an undergraduate degree, passing two sets of exams (SQE 1 and 2) and completing Qualifying Work Experience (QWE).
The below FAQs cover Dentons Training Contract route to qualification, whereby QWE is achieved through completion of our Training Contract. You can find out more about all the routes to qualification on the SRA Website.
Our trainee journey will look slightly different for law and non-law students:
Qualifying Law Undergraduates
Qualifying Law Degree > SQE 1 > SQE 2 > Two Year Training Contract > Qualification
Non-Law Degree > Law Foundations Diploma > SQE 1 > SQE 2 > Two Year Training Contract > Qualification
For our 2024 intake, those who have already started the LPC at the point of offer will only be required to complete and pass SQE 2. For 2025 all trainees will need to complete both SQE 1 and 2, regardless of previous qualifications.
Where can you find out more?
What intake of Trainees at Dentons will need to complete the SQE? add
Any trainees joining the firm from August 2024 onwards will complete the SQE. Our 2022 and 2023 trainees will continue to complete the GDL and LPC.
What is the difference between the SQE 1 and 2? add
The SQE 1 is Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK) assessment.
FLK consists of two three-hour multiple-choice assessments covering a wide variety of practice areas including Business Law and Practice; Dispute Resolution; Contract; Tort; Legal System of England and Wales; Constitutional and Administrative Law and EU Law and Legal Services (FLK 1) and Property Practice; Wills and the Administration of Estates; Solicitors Accounts; Land Law; Trusts; Criminal Law and Practice (FLK 2).
SQE 2 is the Practical Legal Skills assessment.
SQE2 consists of written and oral tests which assess your practical legal skills. SQE2 is split into five half-day assessments focused on six skills: client interview and attendance note/legal analysis; advocacy; case and matter analysis; legal research; legal writing; and legal drafting. Ethics and professional conduct are assessed throughout
What is QWE? add
All candidates hoping to qualify in England and Wales must complete two years Qualifying Work Experience (QWE).
Our Training Contract allows you to achieve your QWE with us over the two year program.
Work experience is counted as QWE if it includes providing legal services and if it offers you the opportunity to develop some or all of the competences needed to practise as a solicitor. You can see these competencies at the SRA website.
To be valid, QWE must be signed off by a solicitor or compliance officer for legal practice.
Our Training Contract will meet all these requirements, and allow you to develop a wide range of skills over a variety of practice areas.
How long will the Training Contract last? add
Our Training Contract lasts for two years.
There may be an opportunity to use six months previous relevant QWE to reduce the Training Contract to 18 months. This will be discussed on a case by case basis.
Everyone on our Training Contract will need to complete 18 months minimum, regardless of how much QWE they already achieved.
Will the Dentons Training Contract still include seat moves? add
Yes, our training contract will continue to include seat moves, alongside our bespoke development modules – resilience, innovation and project management.
How will the qualification process work? Will trainees be up against alternative SQE qualifiers for associate roles? add
Our goal has always been to retain as many of our trainees as possible into associate roles.
Who will be Dentons Training Provider? add
We have partnered with BPP university to support our future trainees and other qualifiers through the SQE 1 and 2.
Our SQ1 Preparation course will allow you to:
- Build the core knowledge that will be assessed in SQE1, and starting to understand the content of SQE2.
- Practice SQE1 questions.
- Access engaging learning materials using BPP Adapt.
Our SQ2 Preparation course will allow you to:
- Access required core legal knowledge via BPP Adapt.
- Take part in intensive coaching workshops, focused on personal development.
- Review and practice diagnostic tests and practices of SQE2 tasks.
- Receive personalised feedback.
- Complete mock exam simulations to build confidence.
Will Dentons Trainees complete the SQE before they start their Training Contract? add
Yes, we will support all our future trainees through the SQE prior to their Training Contract commencing.
How long will it take to prepare for and sit the SQE Exams? add
It will take one year to complete the SQE preparation courses and exams with BPP University.
Will Dentons cover the SQE fees? add
Yes, we will cover SQE course and exam fees for our future trainees.
Will Dentons provide a maintenance grant to trainees studying the SQE? add
Yes, we will continue to support our future trainees financially through the SQE via a grant.
Will non-law students still need to complete the GDL? add
We will be asking all our non-law future trainees to complete the Law Foundation Diploma with BPP (equivalent to the GDL) before they commence the SQE.
The course lasts one year, and we will fund the course and provide a maintenance grant. To discuss exemptions to this please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will candidates who have completed the SQE independently be disadvantaged in the application process? add
No, we will consider candidates who have already completed the SQE 1 and/or 2 in exactly the same way. Please note we are unable to cover costs retrospectively.
Will Dentons allow students to re-sit the SQE if they don’t pass first time? add
We anticipate you having all the support required to pass the SQE exams the first time around.
However should you need to resit any exams, we will discuss it with you on a case by case basis.
Will LPC graduates need to complete the SQE? add
For our 2024 intake, those who have started the LPC at the point of offer will not need to complete SQE 1, but will need to pass SQE 2.
From 2025 we will be exclusively adopting the SQE. We will therefore require all incoming trainees to pass both SQE 1 and 2.