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Testing times

The results of the SQE1 pilot are out and the SRA is pushing forward with sweeping reforms to how solicitors enter the profession – but many lawyers have concerns over the new regime, as Rachel Rothwell reports

5 September 2019

At the end of July, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) took a determined stride towards its goal of achieving a radical overhaul of the way solicitors qualify.

The regulator published the results of the pilot of the first stage of its Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) process, hailing it as having broadly been a success.

More than 300 candidates were paid to sit a trial of the SQE1 super-exam, which is on track to go live in Autumn 2021.

Meanwhile, this December the second phase of the new regime, SQE2, will also be piloted and is due to be introduced for real in 2022.

The SQE1 will test candidates’ ‘functioning legal knowledge’ through multiple choice questions on core elements of law and practice; and the pilot also included a written ‘skills test’.

The second phase, SQE2, involves some 20 hours of practical legal skills assessment which will involve role plays and written tests.

As Patrick McCann, global head...

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