Are you a young lawyer?

Are you a law undergraduate, law graduate or in the process of completing your LPC or an Attorney-at Law aiming to do the QLTT exam or someone who needs assistance in getting information about how to find a pupillage? Whatever the category you may belong to, ASLLUK may be able to assist you.

We, the members of the Association of Sri Lankan Lawyers in the UK (ASLLUK) are aware that the future of ASLLUK depends on the breadth and depth of assistance extended by the senior membership to young law professionals to build up their career. This being the truth, the senior members; barristers and solicitors, are willing and ready to offer their assistance which you are cordially invited to explore and make use of every assistance you may reach at the beginning of your career.

One of the unique features of the law profession is that much is learnt through experience gained in working environment. This is reflected in the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) regime (the new route to qualify as a solicitor) that will come into being from 2021 onwards. According to the new system which is being implemented by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), all candidates will be required after 1st  September 2021 to complete at least two years’ full-time (or equivalent) qualifying work experience (QWE).

As a result of the said new system of SQE, the requirement to complete a Legal Practice Course (LPC) subsequent to having completed a law degree (LLB) or a law conversion course will be removed. Instead the law graduates will be required complete the SQE1 and SQE2 exams and obtain qualifying work experience for two years which will have to be approved by the supervising solicitor or the compliance officer.

Requirement for Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SEQ)

There are four things, that one will be required to have in order to qualify as a solicitor through SQE:

  1. have a university degree or equivalent in any subject (law or non-law);
  2. pass the character and suitability assessment set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (this is the same as the old system);
  3. pass SQE stages one and two (SQE1 and SQE2); and
  4. have two years’ qualifying work experience (QWE, also called QLE which means ‘qualifying legal experience’).

The good news for the young budding lawyers, who will be pleased to know, is that the way in which they could complete gaining the qualifying work experience is far more relaxed, compared to the two years contract in the current system, in that what counts as qualifying work experience, where and when such experience could be gained, have been widened.

What counts as qualifying work experience (QWE)?

QWE is any experience of providing legal services that offers the opportunity to develop the  skills and knowledge needed to practise as a solicitor. It can be gained in one block of time or in stages, so long as it is in no more than four organisations.

Where could a candidate gain (QWE)?

QWE could be gained by working (paid or unpaid) across up to 4 organisations:

  1. on placement during a law degree
  2. working in a law clinic
  3. at a voluntary or charitable organisation such Citizen Advice or a law centre
  4. working as a paralegal
  5. on a training contract.

When can the candidates gain QWE?

Candidates are able to gain QWE either during or after they sit the SQE assessments. The requirement is that the QWE must be completed by the time candidates apply for admission.

How could the QWE be demonstrated?

QWE must be signed off by one of the following personnel:

  1. the COLP (Compliance Officers for Legal Practice), if the organisation has one.
  2. a solicitor of England and Wales in the organisation, or
  3. another nominated solicitor of England and Wales outside the organisation but with direct knowledge of the candidate’s work.

COLP or the Solicitor must sign off the following:

  1. the details of the work experience carried out
  2. that it provided the opportunity to develop some or all of the prescribed competences for solicitors.
  3. that no issues arose during the work experience that raise questions over the candidate’s character and suitability to be admitted as a solicitor.

NB: The signing off solicitor or the COLP is not deciding whether a candidate has met the prescribed competences for solicitors. It is the SQE exams that assess whether the SRA standards are met.

It is thus seen that in the context of the new SQE system that is being introduced, requirement is to complete two years of QWE either during or after SQE (paid or unpaid) across up to 4 organisations. Hence, law under graduates, graduates, SQE candidates will find it very useful and helpful to be in touch with ASLLUK whose membership consists of Solicitors and barristers who will be able to offer guidance and assistance in respect of finding QWE opportunities.

What are the opportunities for young lawyers?

ASLLUK is a great platform for networking opportunities. How well connected you are will matter when it comes to finding a place to gain your QWE or the training contract if you have just passed the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or the Bar Practice Course (BPC) and are looking to find a pupillage. In the early stage of your legal career you may find it difficult to secure a Training Contract or a Pupillage.

ASLLUK aims to offer such individuals the opportunity to build a relationship with those who can offer assistance to you. Expanding your professional network is vital, especially when you are starting out in a profession as demanding as Law.

With ASLLUK, you will enjoy events specifically designed to give you an opportunity to meet other young lawyers, senior barristers and solicitors. It is right to say we are informal and supportive.

Please look for Careers evenings and legal updates. Apart from networking, ASLLUK members benefit from a wide range of seminars and careers events which are aimed at everyone; from students to qualified lawyers.

Get involved

Get your membership today and start getting free (if you are a student) or discounted access to all our events.

Get in touch

Have you got a question? We are here to help.

  • 316 Northolt Road, Harrow,
    Middlesex ,HA2 8EE
    United Kingdom

Contact us