Skip to Main Content

Solicitor, Legal Executive and Other Legal Roles

The role of a solicitor

Solicitors are lawyers who are qualified to give legal advice and are generally office-based rather than representing clients in court like barristers. They may work with private or commercial clients depending on the size of their firm. Although they usually specialise in one area of law, a solicitor's training is more broad than that of a legal executive.

The main routes to qualifying as a solicitor

The new SQE qualification route:

From September 2021, the Solicitors Qualification Exam (SQE) has been introduced and requires law and non-law graduates to sit two exams - the SQE 1 & SQE 2. See our training page for more information. 

Candidates will also need to complete two years of qualifying work experience. This could be a law apprenticeship, paralegal role, work placement or volunteering. 

If you have completed, started or accepted a place on a GDL, LPC or training contract before 1 September 2021, or for a qualifying law degree by 21 September 2021, you can still take the old qualification route:

1. You first need to complete a law degree or a graduate diploma in law (GDL) if you are a non-law graduate.

2.  After completing your law degree or conversion course, you will need to do a Legal Practice Course, which takes one year of full-time study.

3. Following completion of the LPC, you will need to do a training contract with a firm where you work and study for two years as a trainee solicitor.

The transition period to take this old route lasts until 2032. However, it is likely that universities will start removing LPC and GDL courses before then.

Another option is to qualify as a solicitor via the CILEx training route.

Schemes and events to increase diversity in the legal sector

Professional associations

The Lawyer Portal

Related sectors

These sectors may be of interest to those who want to work in a legal profession: