SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND FOR INDIAN LAW STUDENTS
The profession of law is not only confined to lawyers who represent clients in the courts, but it expands to the sphere of including those who do not actually appear in the courts on behalf of the clients. Such people are known to be solicitors.
They essentially draft the pleadings and prepare all the required documents for the clients and then hire advocates to represent the clients. They provide proper advice to the client in relation to their case. Solicitors deals with a large number of clients and have a huge customer base than the advocates.
This is because their primary job is to provide advice and draft pleadings for the clients, whereas the advocate’s primary role is to prepare the pleadings and also appear before the court on the client’s behalf.
A lot of students aspire to become solicitors in England where this profession is the most recognized. There is a provision for Indian students too to become solicitors in England and thus they must be aware of the changing trend in the system of examination to qualify as a solicitor.
Solicitors are experts in providing advice in relation to all the legal matters and thus they have a diversified knowledge about all the subjects related to law. They also have expertise in documentation, negotiation and in carrying out various transactions. They mainly work for professional businessmen and are very well paid-off.
Solicitors portray a wide and diverse range of skills including good communication skills, efficient and effective researching skills. They also have the ability to interpret and have an in-depth knowledge in almost all the spheres of law. a solicitor enjoys a very reputable position in the profession of law.
In order to become a solicitor, earlier the law students were required to first complete their degree, and then go through LPC, i.e. a Legal Practice Course, which was mandatory and in the form of a vocational training. Only then can someone qualify to become a solicitor.
However, during the time of pandemic, a new approach and system of examination has been introduced which would form the basis of qualifying as a solicitor in England. This approach has introduced with new exams, mode and format of the exam, syllabus, etc.
The new system of examination introduced is called the ‘Solicitor Qualifying Exam’. It substitutes the traditional system of qualifying for a solicitor.
NEW REQUIREMENTS OF BECOMING A SOLICITOR FROM THE YEAR 2021:
- The candidates must have a completed degree from any university in any subject equivalent to law or non-law
- The candidate is required to qualify in the SRA’s assessment character and suitability assessment
- The candidate must pass 2 stages of SQE i.e. the Solicitor Qualifying Exam
- The candidate is supposed to have a total of two years Qualifying Work Experience (QWE)
TIME PERIOD REQUIRED FOR QUALIFICATION
After the candidate has completed a degree in subject equivalent to law or non-law, he/she is required to complete the SQE1 before the SQE2. After SQE1 is completed, the candidate has 6 years in their hands to write the SQE2 and qualify as a solicitor. The Qualifying Work Experience required can be done before, after or during the SQE.
QUALIFYING WORK EXPERIENCE (QWE)
QUE is mandatory for candidates, so that they can gain and imbibe practical skills that are required to blossom into a good and competent solicitor. QUE can be done before, during or after the completion of SQE1 & SQE2. The candidates need to have an experience in at least 4 organizations which could be a law firm, a law center, pro bono clinics, etc.
The organization’s rules and conduct must adhere to the SRA. Each placement from an organization must be signed by the solicitor of that firm or organization. The areas in which experience is required has made flexible in the new system.
PORTION COVERED IN SOLICITOR QUALIFYING EXAM
The SQE is divided into two stages, namely, SQE1 & SQE2. Both the stages cover different aspects of law.
STAGE 1 OF SQE
The 1st stage of SQE comprises of ‘functioning legal knowledge’. This stage covers real time questions and problems to be solved rather than just having knowledge of the subject. It includes putting the knowledge into practical problems. This stage comprises a total of 2 tests which are in the form of MCQ’s.
Each test consists of 180 questions, which are framed in such a way that tests the interpretation skills of the candidate. Questions based on real-life scenarios are given. The test covers the following areas of law:
The 1st test covers the following subjects-
- Law of torts
- Alternate Dispute Resolution
- Law of contracts
- Constitutional & Administrative law
- England and Wales’s legal system
- European Union law and legal services
The 2nd test covers the following subjects-
- Property law
- Law of land
- Accounts of solicitors
- Criminal law
- Administration od estates & wills
STAGE 2 OF SQE
The 2nd stage of SQE comprises of what is known as the ‘core legal skills. This test includes both written as well as oral examination. The candidates are judged based on their drafting skills, skill of interviewing the clients, advising skills, etc. The test mainly checks whether the candidate possesses and meets the required standards of practical skills.
The test analyses the following skills of the candidate-
- Interviewing the client
- Drafting legal cases
- Verbal communication/advocacy
- Case analysis- conducting negotiations
- Conducting legal research and written advice
The above skills are tested on the following subjects of law-
- Property law
- Alternate dispute resolution
- Criminal law
- Administration of estates, wills
- Business practice
The SQE2 comprises a total of 16 questions and exercises which includes 12 written and 4 oral questions. The assessment covers the abovementioned five fields of law.
Thus, Indian students who aspire to become solicitors in England have to be prepared with the abovementioned topics and skills. The profession of a solicitor is also slowly blooming in India and few centers have been opened in Bombay and New Delhi. However, law students who aspire to become solicitors in England must be able to imbibe practical skills along with having legal knowledge.