How long will it take to complete the SQE?Watch
Also say you are successful in gaining a training contract in your 2nd year. What do people usually or should be doing in their third year or is that it, just focus on your grades and graduate?
2 years minimum.
There will no longer be a "training contract". You just need to accumulate 2 years worth of qualifying work experience (QWE)
The information you have got is not quite accurate. Although it is suspected that the majority of law firms will take the SQE Stage 1 -> 2 years of QWE -> SQE Stage 2 approach, there is nothing stopping you from doing your QWE before stage 1 or after stage 2.
By the time I have applied for my training contract (say 2nd year) I would have been a qualified Advisor and volunteering for a minimum of 3 years at Citizens Advice. How would I know if this experience counts towards my SQE? Some volunteers at my Citizens Advice claim law firms are increasingly not treating it as experience.
The QWE isn’t really defined yet beyond it being signed off by a Solicitor or a compliance officer. It will purposely be kept vague though.
It could count towards qualification. However becoming a qualified lawyer via the SQE does not mean you will be employable. Law firms wont see it’s comparable experience to what is done in their firms. There is a danger with the new system of being over qualified but under experienced
If Law firms won't see my experience as a Citizens Advice Advisor as comparable experience, why do some say it could shortern your training contract?
Sorry for all the questions I am trying to fully understand this.
As it currently stands, your training contract can only be done with one firm/organisation under a formal "period of recognised training". There are some exemptions, but ultimately the current system is designed so any previous experience isn't counted. As the firm signs off your experience, they generally can't and don't want to approve any previous experiences.
The new system allows the individual to not be tied to the firm and gain their experience over multiple organisations who each sign off their part. The exams then work as a verifier to say you have learnt enough. But the QWE experience can be gained at anytime - it technically could be gained before even graduating. Now, at best you have to do it alongside studying for the LPC, but most will only do the two years post LPC.
It can shorten your "training contract" though. However, firms may not want to allow this for their own sanity - just because you have qualified, it doesn't mean you have gained two years of experience relevant to their type of legal work. You could have qualified in family law, but that doesn't mean all of a sudden you can become a international qualified lawyer.
TL;DR: currently TCs were typically attached to the organisation, not the individual. The new system ties the training and exams to the individual.