Becoming a Solicitor: The Road to Qualification

Becoming a Solicitor: The Road to Qualification

The road to qualification as a solicitor can often be a difficult one to navigate, especially in light of the many options that prospective candidates currently face. However, with the right support from your firm, the journey of becoming a solicitor becomes increasingly clearer.

I started my legal career at 20 years old, in July 2019. After completing the second year of my undergraduate studies, at the University of Surrey, I started my placement year at the National Centre of Domestic Violence (NCDV). At NCDV, I was initially employed as a casework intern. My primary responsibilities were calling victims of domestic abuse and drafting their witness statements for Non-Molestation Order, Occupation Order, and Prohibited Steps Order applications. I was subsequently promoted to a senior caseworker and my internship was extended, in February 2020. When I returned to university in September 2020, to complete my final year of studies, I continued to work at NCDV part-time.

After graduating from the University of Surrey with a degree in Law and International Relations, I returned to NCDV full-time and was promoted to Assistant Team Leader. In my new role, I was responsible for training caseworkers and checking their witness statements. I was subsequently given the opportunity to become a Graduate Solicitor Apprentice. In February 2022, I started my Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) course, at the University of Law, alongside my apprenticeship, in which I continued my qualifying work experience with NCDV.

However, in February 2023, I was offered the brilliant opportunity to transfer to National Legal Service to continue my qualifying work experience. Supported by the NLS Academy, I was provided the opportunity to further expand my knowledge of family law by becoming a paralegal in the firm’s Family Department. Working closely with the Deputy Head of Family, I initially assisted with my supervising solicitor’s Care matters. I obtained greater responsibilities as I became increasingly experienced. I started to run a number of my own private child law cases, which involved completing Legal Aid Applications, drafting Court applications, preparing witness statements and position statements, complying with Court directions and providing advice to clients.

I also obtained greater responsibilities in Care matters. I attended a number of Public Law Outline meetings with clients, and ran Care cases myself, under the supervision of my supervising solicitor.

I then successfully completed my SQE1 exams in July 2023, with NLS supporting me during exam preparation courses, study leave and exam dates. Following the completion of SQE1, I moved on to my SQE2 studies. Throughout the following months, my responsibilities at NLS increased. I started to run a sufficient caseload in my own name. My awareness of family law continued to increase exponentially, as did my confidence.

In December 2023, the University of Law and NLS were satisfied that that I had successfully completed my qualifying work experience, meeting the competencies required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, for the purposes of my apprenticeship.

I then sat all 16 assessments for my SQE2 in January and February 2024. Again, NLS were incredibly supportive in regard to my exam preparation course, study leave, and exam leave. Following the completion of my exams, I continued managing my own caseload and obtained some excellent results for my clients in both private child law proceedings, and care proceedings.

Then, on 29 May 2024, I finally received my SQE2 exam results. Despite how challenging the SQE2 exams were, I was elated to have passed my SQE2 assessments.

Upon successfully completing my SQE and qualifying work experience, I am now awaiting my practice certificate to be admitted as a solicitor.

Whilst qualifying as a solicitor is by no means an easy feat, with the right support from your employer, the experience will be incredibly enriching and rewarding. The confidence and commercial awareness I developed throughout completing my qualifying work experience alongside my SQE studies really improved the skills examined in SQE2. The support I received from National Legal Service under their NLS Academy employee development scheme made the process far easier to traverse.

I now have the skill set to practice as a solicitor to ensure that the firm continues to make a positive impact in people’s lives.

To find out more about how National Legal Service can support your career progression, please refer to our careers page at

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