The Law Society is hoping to clear up uncertainties about the forthcoming solicitors' 'super-exam' by publishing comprehensive guidance on everything that is known so far - as well as listing the 'known unknowns'.
The Solicitors Qualifying Exam, being developed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, will be a single assessment for all aspiring solicitors and is due to come into force by September 2020.
The Society says the SQE represents a 'fundamental shift' in how solicitors train and qualify, and many solicitors are concerned about what it means for them. As a result, Chancery Lane has drafted a guide to provide clarity ahead of what it says will be a lengthy transitional period while the new system is phased in.
Christina Blacklaws, Society president, said: 'A single source of comprehensive information about the SQE has not existed until now and we are very pleased to be able to provide this overview.'
The guide's 18 sections. As well as explaining what will be required, the document provides a summary of what we do not yet know: assessment details and costs, timescales, what training courses will be available, the details of the non-compulsory licensing system for education providers, and whether the assessments will be offered in Welsh.
The guide will be updated with additional information as and when it is announced.
Blacklaws said: 'It is important that those affected begin thinking about how the SQE may impact on them and/or their business and consider any changes they may need to make. For example, law firms will be preparing to oversee implementation of the SQE and helping to guide graduate trainees through their qualification as solicitors.
'Maintaining high professional standards and ensuring the diversity of the solicitors’ profession have been top priorities for the Law Society from the very start of the SQE process. We want to enable potential entrants to the profession to make informed choices about which route may be best for them and we hope this overview is valuable to schools, universities and careers advisers.'
In August the SRA announced that educational services giant Kaplan had won an eight-year contract to run the SQE on behalf of the regulator. It will not provide training.