Confused about training contracts

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Daniel19761
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#1
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#1
I am just wondering, with the SQE, do I still need to apply for training contracts to work as a solicitor at a law firm?

How would I actually apply for a solicitor role at a law firm after I have completed the SQE?

And if I was to switch from one firm to another, would I have to do a training contract again?
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17Student17
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#2
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Short answer is Yes. Most better firms will still do the 2 years. People will continue often to apply during their law or other degree and recruitment will remain about 2 years in advance at those firms.

If instead you do not obtain an offer at university and sponsorship for the SQE then if as you ask you have passed the SQE through your own funding etc and IF you have the 2 years of qualifying work experience you would be admitted and then would be looking for jobs as a solicitor although bit issue is whether not having done comprehensive SQE courses the big law firms are putting trainees through and 2 years intense training in 4 different departments in a big firm on qualification you may not find it as easy to obtain a job in that kind of firm as people who have been through that route.

So basically continue as before the SQE if you are still at university - join some law stuff in year 1 even if you are not reading law, apply for paid vacation schemes in year 2 and look at the law firms' website for their deadlines for applying for these things and then apply for training contracts whilst still at university and hope to get one and then they will pay for your SQE1 and 2 training and exams and then pay you for your 2 years as a trainee doing QWE at the firm.
Eg one City law firm has a pdf with diagram of how people will qualify with them https://www.slaughterandmay.com/medi...-ccp-flyer.pdf
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Gmaster1980
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#3
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(Original post by Daniel19761)
I am just wondering, with the SQE, do I still need to apply for training contracts to work as a solicitor at a law firm?

How would I actually apply for a solicitor role at a law firm after I have completed the SQE?

And if I was to switch from one firm to another, would I have to do a training contract again?
To your first and second question, it really depends on the type of law you want to do. Do you have any idea of the practice or location or whether you want to work in-house or private practice?

To your last question, no, once you have qualified as a solicitor you won't have to do another 2 years of qualifying work experience and requalify by passing the SQE.
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Alenamai
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#4
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Technically you don't have to obtain a training contract to qualify anymore. You have to have 2 years of qualified work experience (QWE) which can be with up to 4 providers and can include voluntary work, working for a law firm, a training contract, law school placements or anything else which allows you to demonstrate the legal competencies in the framework. Your training hours will have to be signed off by a solicitor but other than that there is no need to demonstrate or provide any specific evidence.
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Daniel19761
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#5
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Alenamai Gmaster1980 17Student17

Thank you very much for your replies.

I think whats confusing me is, say I have completed the two years QWE by working as a paralegal, when it comes to applying for jobs as a solicitor, will I need to still apply for training contracts? Or do I apply on indeed for example.

If I wanted to change from firm to firm, would I need to do a training contract with each new firm?
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Gmaster1980
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#6
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(Original post by Daniel19761)
Alenamai Gmaster1980 17Student17

Thank you very much for your replies.

I think whats confusing me is, say I have completed the two years QWE by working as a paralegal, when it comes to applying for jobs as a solicitor, will I need to still apply for training contracts? Or do I apply on indeed for example.

If I wanted to change from firm to firm, would I need to do a training contract with each new firm?
You wouldn't need to in theory. But whether a firm hires you as a qualified associate as a result of your paralegal QWE is going to depend on the firm and type of law you want to do.
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AGW1983
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#7
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Two things to add to this conversation but please treat these more as questions than answers. Would be grateful to get more experienced heads to comment:

1) Technically you don't have to do a training contract and can qualify with two years work experience. However, how many law firms will actually give you the opportunity to do that? My own perspective from the accountancy sector is that there might be slim pickings for paralegal hire in the future because law firms might do the same as the accountants and hire more trainees than they need with an expected rate of failure from those who don't pass the SQE. For example as a law firm you might have a two fail and out policy. You have someone working with the firm for a year whilst they study their SQE doing the junior work and then terminate their employment if they fail twice.

2) I think you need sign off from the firm that you've done suitable work experience. Firms won't necessarily do that if you've just been doing basic tasks?
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17Student17
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#8
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If a solicitor at your current employer will sign off your work experience as being similar to that of trainee solicitor, competencies of a solicitor etc then to qualify you will not also need a training contract. If you think the qualify of that work is too low such that no one will hire you once qualified however you might want to apply for TCs elsewhere. However you cannot be hired as a trainee at a law firm (the big firms are keeping the 2 years of TCs etc) once you are a qualified a solicitor although they could p[ay you trainee pay I suppose whilst you work for them as a solicitor if they want you to do 2 years in their firm doing their kind of work etc.

"whats confusing me is, say I have completed the two years QWE by working as a paralegal, when it comes to applying for jobs as a solicitor, will I need to still apply for training contracts? Or do I apply on indeed for example. " Short answer to that is no once you have passed SQE1 and SQE2 and you have a solicitor certifiying 2 years of QWE meets the standards or competencies required.
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Gmaster1980
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#9
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(Original post by AGW1983)
Two things to add to this conversation but please treat these more as questions than answers. Would be grateful to get more experienced heads to comment:

1) Technically you don't have to do a training contract and can qualify with two years work experience. However, how many law firms will actually give you the opportunity to do that? My own perspective from the accountancy sector is that there might be slim pickings for paralegal hire in the future because law firms might do the same as the accountants and hire more trainees than they need with an expected rate of failure from those who don't pass the SQE. For example as a law firm you might have a two fail and out policy. You have someone working with the firm for a year whilst they study their SQE doing the junior work and then terminate their employment if they fail twice.

2) I think you need sign off from the firm that you've done suitable work experience. Firms won't necessarily do that if you've just been doing basic tasks?
1) firms that hire an appreciable amount of trainees will have their trainees pass both parts of the SQE before starting the graduate programme. Paralegals will still be needed but mainly on a short term basis for reasons below.
2) it would be very difficult for a firm to put forward a convincing argument for why they would not sign your QWE off at all. What's more likely is that few paralegals will be able to stay a full two years at any one firm to prevent them asking to jump to associate level once they've qualified with QWE.
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AGW1983
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#10
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(Original post by Gmaster1980)
1) firms that hire an appreciable amount of trainees will have their trainees pass both parts of the SQE before starting the graduate programme. Paralegals will still be needed but mainly on a short term basis for reasons below.
2) it would be very difficult for a firm to put forward a convincing argument for why they would not sign your QWE off at all. What's more likely is that few paralegals will be able to stay a full two years at any one firm to prevent them asking to jump to associate level once they've qualified with QWE.
Interesting and this raises another question. As I understand it, a paralegal can get QWE from up to four different firms. Is there a danger that paralegals with the SQE are not hired once they have around 18 months experience because a firm doesn't want to sign them off as a solicitor? Or are these folks going to become second class solicitors who struggle to get hired into a solicitors' role even after qualifying (in the accounting world, plenty of people get their ACCA exams but there is a clear distinction in the profession between those who trained in industry and those who trained in practice. Moving from industry to practice is almost unheard of).
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Gmaster1980
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#11
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(Original post by AGW1983)
Interesting and this raises another question. As I understand it, a paralegal can get QWE from up to four different firms. Is there a danger that paralegals with the SQE are not hired once they have around 18 months experience because a firm doesn't want to sign them off as a solicitor? Or are these folks going to become second class solicitors who struggle to get hired into a solicitors' role even after qualifying (in the accounting world, plenty of people get their ACCA exams but there is a clear distinction in the profession between those who trained in industry and those who trained in practice. Moving from industry to practice is almost unheard of).
The firm doesn't sign them off as a solicitor. They sign off the particular qwe a person has done. I expect firms won't allow paralegals to stick around long enough for ALL of their qwe to be from one firm therefore making the rejection for an associate role less painful and awkward. I expect anyone qualifying with piecemeal qwe is going to struggle to get an NQ role if they haven't done a proper graduate programme.

Firms will be able to hire qualified solicitors at paralegal pay, levels of responsibility and even title even if the solicitor is on the roll which will add to the two tier issue.
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17Student17
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#12
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I agree. I also saw an SRA video which dealt with some of these issues and people were asking questions like - what if I am a paralegal and my boss refuses to sign off QWE as it was not of the competencies required? What kind of work will count? (I think the kinds of work could be a bit complex as to what counts - obviously 2 yeas photocopying will not and some jobs eg IT programming would not and may be some simple claims handling even not enough but some jobs perhaps some HR work might be fairly legal and might count. It will be interest to see.

Can you force your boss to sign off on it? What happens if the boss signs off on it when the work did not meet the competencies - might the boss be liable to the SRA (career on line etc) for signing off because they gave in to pressure, but you had not really done work that qualifies and that kind of question. The other question is what if you are hired as a paralegal and then you pass SQE1 quite quickly - answer was the firm has to call you a solicitor (f you have the QWE and it is signed off) but they do not of course have to increase your pay and also some first have a paralegal first scheme where people basically accept low pay for a few years in return eventually for a 2 year TC so those kind of promises - do 2 years as a para legal and we might sponsor your exams as long as you then do 2 years training with us etc might become quite complicated if someone qualifies a lot quicker than envisaged.

The 2 year programmes where you work in 3 or 4 different 6 month seats in the same firm with their training programmes and gradually obtaining more experience might result in a better newly qualified lawyer than a cobbled together QWE in 4 different places.
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