A wide range of GCSEs and A levels are open to you if you intend to become a lawyer. Law qualifications below degree level are not always highly regarded by universities, indeed many Russell Group institutions would prefer you to have studied alternative subjects. Any GCSEs (although these must include English and Maths) and A levels are acceptable so long as they are academic. It is important to achieve good grades as many law firms will look at your A level grades as an indication of your academic ability even if you go on to achieve a 2:1 at your degree.

No, you can study either a law or a non-law degree. Everyone starting legal studies now will need to qualify under the SQE arrangements and there are no exemptions available to law graduates. However, if you chose not to study a law degree it is very likely that you will need to consider some form of post graduate conversion course in order to be successful in the SQE exams.; the syllabus demands a very wide knowledge of law.

It is possible to enter the profession directly from school and qualify as a solicitor.

No, although some legal executives go on to qualify as solicitors. The Legal Executive qualification differs from that of a solicitor in the way students are trained. In legal practice legal executives will often be given less challenging or more repetitive work than is available to qualified solicitors although this is not invariably the case.

Yes. Members and Fellows of the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) may be eligible for some exemptions from the SQE process depending on their precise personal circumstances. They will be exempt from QWE if they have worked for the required two years in legal practice.

You will need to undertake the SQE qualification and should enquire as to whether any exemptions are available to you. This will depend on your personal circumstances.

This refers to the 2 year period of Qualifying Work Experience needed for solicitors to qualify under the provisions of the SQE. If you are working in legal practice you should discuss with your employers whether the work you are doing is eligible to count as QWE.

There are four Inns of Court (Lincoln’s Inn, Inner Temple, Middle Temple and Gray’s Inn). Anyone wishing to train for the Bar must join one of the Inns and the Inns alone have the power to “call” a student to the Bar after a student has successfully completed the academic stage of training. Only those called and who have completed pupillage are able to exercise rights of audience in the superior courts of England and Wales as barristers.

Pupillage is the final stage of the route to qualification at the Bar in which the pupil gains practical training under the supervision of an experienced barrister. Pupillage is divided into two parts: the non-practising six months during which pupils shadow their approved pupil supervisor and the second practising six months when pupils, with their approved pupil supervisors permission, can undertake to supply legal services.