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How Long Does It Take to Become a Solicitor in the UK?

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How Long Does It Take to Become a Solicitor in the UK?

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​How Long Does It Take to Become a Solicitor in the UK?

Ever toyed with the idea of working in the legal sector? If becoming a solicitor is of interest, you might wonder: how long will it take you to become a solicitor in the UK?

Let’s assume you have successfully completed your A levels* you are applying for England and Wales, and not Scotland (which is different). Your timeline to getting the solicitor title will change based on the route you will partake when it comes to studies.

The 'traditional' route to becoming a lawyer in the UK

The "non-traditional' route: studying a non-law subject for your degree

Bachelor of Laws: 3 years

Bachelor's Degree: 3 years

Legal Practice Course: 1 year

Graduate Diploma in Law: 1 year

Training Contract: 2 years

Legal Practice Course: 1 year

Training Contract: 2 years

Total time: 6 years

Total time: 7 years

The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme

If you are a qualified lawyer or barrister from a recognised jurisdiction overseas, you can qualify as an English lawyer by undertaking the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS).

Technically, all you need to do for the QLTS is pass two exams; one is a Multiple Choice Test (MCT) and the other is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Both tests are known to be quite difficult: depending on your experience and how similar your home jurisdiction’s legal system is, successfully completing the two exams can take anywhere from a few months to a few years.

Why Is It Long or Difficult?

The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the authority that controls the admission of lawyers in England and Wales. The reason they make it so tough is to protect members of the public and to support the rule of law. If you don’t have properly trained lawyers, clients would suffer and the legal system would break down.

* Entry requirements for an undergraduate law degree at top universities typically range from A*AA to AAB.


Felix Blumer is an ex-lawyer and a Consultant at Rutherford, the executive legal and compliance recruitment specialists.
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