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September 15, 2021
With BPP’s guide, learn how to gain Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) for the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).

How do I access Qualifying Work Experience (QWE)?

If you’re taking the SQE route to become a qualified solicitor, you need to complete two years of full-time qualifying work experience.

Similarly to a training contract, QWE is essentially gaining practical experience of providing legal services that will allow you to develop and enhance the core competences that are needed to successfully practice as a solicitor. Any QWE that you undertake must be confirmed by a solicitor or compliance officer for legal practice.

What is QWE?

Unlike the LPC which requires you to undertake a two-year training contract, typically in one firm, the SQE enables you to complete your QWE in up to four organisations. This time can be taken in one full block or in different stages – whichever works best for you. It can also be taken at any time during your SQE journey.

This gives you the opportunity to gain experience within a variety of different firms, while providing the flexibility to balance your QWE and your studies.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) states that QWE can comprise of paid or volunteer work which may include the following:

  • On placement during a law degree
  • Working in a law clinic
  • At a voluntary or charitable organisation
  • Working as a paralegal
  • On a training contract

When can I undertake QWE?

You can begin your QWE at any point during your SQE journey. The full two years of QWE must be completed and signed off by a qualified solicitor and/or compliance officer for legal practice before you apply for admission as a solicitor.

How is QWE recorded and confirmed?

You will be required to record your QWE, and this will then be signed off and confirmed by a solicitor. As advised by the SRA, it is a good idea to check with the firm or organisation in which you are undertaking your QWE to see what processes are in place to record your experience. You can also check you’re on the right track for recording your time through appraisals or monthly meetings.

The SRA offers a QWE training template which allows you to record your work experience. Through this template you are able to record physical evidence as well as the ways in which you believe you have met the competences in the Statement of Solicitor Competence.

How Can I Secure my QWE?

It’s time to take advantage of the flexibility QWE offers under the SQE route. Make connections and discuss opportunities with your current or prospective employer to find out what training is available to you.

BPP has connections with leading law firms within the UK and further afield. Through their focus on employability and their careers service, they can assist you with networking opportunities to help secure your QWE.

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