The SQE2 involves an oral assessment that takes place over two days and written assessments that take place over three days. It assesses your application of Functioning Legal Knowledge through various specific skills and across certain practice areas.

What is Assessed in SQE2?

SQE2 assesses the application of Functioning Legal Knowledge (Functioning Legal Knowledge more broadly is tested as part of SQE1). This is assessed to the level of an NQ or newly qualified practitioner. Questions assess a range of skills as applicable within specific practice areas, although general professionalism and ethics are central to all aspects of SQE2. This should be at the forefront of your mind when undertaking any assessment as any ethical or professional conflicts won’t be highlighted for you.

Similarly to SQE1, the applicable law you will be examined on will be as it stands four months before the the first assessment in the respective window of your booking.

Legal Practice Areas

The following legal areas are those in which skills will be assessed:

  • Criminal Litigation (criminal liability)
  • Dispute Resolution (contract and tort law)
  • Property Practice (land law)
  • Wills and Intestacy, Probate Administration (law of trusts)
  • Business organisations, rules and procedures (contract law)

Skills

The following skills are assessed as part of SQE2:

  • Advocacy: Appropriately and clearly present a persuasive argument, including key facts
  • Client interview: Communicate appropriately and effectively, demonstrating good relationship-building
  • Attendance note/ legal analysis: Record information and identify next steps and suitably advise the client, acknowledging their goals
  • Case & matter analysis: Give clear and concise client-focused advice based on key facts
  • Legal research: Use relevant sources to provide clear, concise and client-focused advice
  • Legal drafting: Draft a well-structured, clear and legally-comprehensive document
  • Legal writing: Use suitable language and key facts to give client-focused advice

The first three are assessed in the oral assessment, while the last four are assessed across the three day written exam.

Negotiation isn’t assessed individually like the skills noted above are, however this will be an element in at least one assessment. All assessments assess the candidates ability to correctly and comprehensively apply the law. The correct and appropriate application of the law is assessed for all of the above, except the client interview.

What Does the SQE2 Assessment Involve?

The SQE2 is comprised of a written assessment that takes place over three days and a two-day oral assessment. The oral exam assesses interview and attendance note/ legal analysis, as well as advocacy, while the other skills are assessed over the course of the written assessment. The written portion is completely computer-based, while there is a hand-written assessment as part of the oral portion.

SQE2 Oral

Day one assesses advocacy in the context of dispute resolution, with day two assessing advocacy in the context of criminal litigation. Interview and attendance note/ legal analysis is assessed in the context of property practice on day one and wills and probate on day two. The assessment is structured as follows:

  • Client interview and attendance note/ legal analysis – 10 minutes to review an email (could include documents) summarising who the client is and what they intend to discussed, then  a 25 minute interview with an assessor acting as the client. There is then a further 25 minutes to produce a hand-written attendance note, analysing legal issues
  • Advocacy – 45 minutes to prepare for courtroom advocacy from a case study (potentially additional documents) and an email confirms the relevant court. A qualified solicitor will act as the judge and there will be 15 minutes allocated to make your submission.

SQE2 Written

The written portion of the exam is computer-based and consists of three half-days. Each day comprises case and matter analysis, legal drafting, legal research and legal writing assessments (12 in total). On the first day, two assessments will be with regards to dispute resolution and two concerning criminal litigation. Day two will cover property and wills and probate administration and practice. During day three, all assessments will be regarding business organisations, rules and procedures.

The assessments are structured as follows:

  • Case and matter analysis – 60 minutes to create a report for a partner from a case study that analyses legal issues and provides client advice.
  • Legal research – 60 minutes to investigate a client problem following an email from a partner. A note will need to show legal reasoning and sources.
  • Legal writing – 30 minutes to write a letter or email, with an email from a partner explaining the requirements (this may include further documents). The recipient could be a client, opposing counsel or internal colleague, for example.
  • Legal drafting – 45 minutes to draft a part of or a full legal document. This could involve amending a document or drafting from a precedent.

How Much Does SQE2 Cost?

The SQE2 costs £2,493, in total. Candidates will be expected to pay for both the oral and written assessments in one go.

You can pay online when booking your SQE assessments through an SQE account on the SRA website. You can use most payment methods, as well as a payment voucher, if you have one. Some training providers may give you a payment voucher to use in order to book your test.

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