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How to qualify as a solicitor

The rules on how to qualify as a solicitor are set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). To become a solicitor you must study at graduate and postgraduate level. Graduate-level study is known as the academic stage of training, while the postgraduate level is known as the vocational stage of training. In addition to studying you will have to gain work experience by way of an approved training contract, although this is waived if you have first qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive.

The 'traditional' route to becoming a solicitor is to achieve the SRA's academic stage of training by way of a law degree. The time and increasing cost commitment of university study make alternative routes to qualification, and in particular the Chartered Legal Executive route, very attractive. The table below shows the options available to you but these are given as a guide and you should check the current training regulations with the SRA on 0370 606 2555.

 

Where you are now SRA's academic stage of training Vocational stage of training Employment experience
GCSEs Qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer first, and then convert your qualification to become a solicitor
A levels but no degree - traditional route Law degree Legal Practice Course Training contract
A levels but no degree - CILEx  route Qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive first, and then convert your qualification to become a solicitor
Non-law degree Graduate Diploma in Law Legal Practice Course Training contract
Law degree Usually exempt Legal Practice Course Training contract
Graduate Member of CILEx/ Chartered Legal Executive Additional five to seven Level 6 Certificates to be taken with time limits set by SRA Legal Practice Course Training contract, but you will be exempt if you are already a Chartered Legal Executive