are usually completed in a year, which is a manageable amount of time wherever you are, but be sure to consider the factors that are important to you. Funding There’s no denying that the GDL, LPC and Bar courses are expensive if you are self-funding. There’s more on your financial options in the next section. New postgraduate qualifications As mentioned earlier, there are changes ahead for the ways aspiring solicitors and barristers will qualify in the coming years. Here’s what we know about how the new barrister and solicitor training will work. The Solicitors Qualifying Exam The SQE is a new system of exams provided by Kaplan that will replace the LPC from 2021. All solicitors must pass the SQE in order to qualify. Unlike the GDL and LPC, the new SQE is not a course but a series of exams, which are divided into two stages. Universities and law schools are currently developing new courses to prepare students for the SQE. Under the SQE, solicitors must still complete two years’ work experience before they can qualify, but unlike traditional training contracts, this can now be split over placements with up to four firms. Other forms of experience (eg, volunteering in a law centre) may also count toward the total experience needed to qualify. There are four things you will need to qualify as a solicitor through the SQE. You must: • have a university degree or equivalent in any subject (lawor non-law); • pass the character and suitability assessment set by theSRA (this is the same as the old system); • pass SQE stages one and two; and • have two years’ qualifying work experience (QWE).
otherwise. Thus, our advice for LLMs is to use the same principles for selecting a course as you would at undergraduate level. What to look for in a postgraduate provider You have a wide range of choice when it comes to the postgraduate law courses. Whether you are about to do the GDL, LPC or a Bar course, several factors should guide which law schools you apply to. Those of you with the easiest choice have already secured a training contract or pupillage and your future firm/chambers will have specified the provider that you should attend. It is also possible that your prospective firm/chambers is paying your fees, in which case you don’t have to pay too much heed to financial considerations. Teaching quality Some courses have better teachers and teaching methods than others. The SRA continually monitors course quality and rates LPC courses on areas including teaching, learning and the curriculum, assessment, and support for students. Facilities Not all courses and institutions offer the same level of facilities, resources, support and class sizes. Some institutions include books and materials, while at others these are additional costs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what you get for your money. Housing/living costs London is an expensive city, while the rest of the country is (mostly) cheaper. This should be factored in when you consider how much you will be paying for the course. Location If you study somewhere near home, you can live there and save on costs. If you are keen to move elsewhere, first work out whether you are likely to be happy there – a preliminary visit is a good idea. The Bar courses and LPC
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