Advice about self-funding the SQE

anxiouslawyer

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Feb 26, 2021
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Hi there, a little background about me : I'm a career changer (used to work in telco regulatory compliance), and have recently migrated to the UK on a family visa. I graduated from my LLB and Master's in 2016/2017, and my past few years' work experience has been at a large telco company in my home country due to some scholarship obligations.

The last application cycle, I applied to mostly direct TCs and was not successful with any of them, though I did manage to get a vacation scheme placement that I requested to defer to this winter due to visa/travel challenges. Whilst I am hopeful that this placement would result in a TC offer, I'm well aware that sometimes it can take a few application cycles and a couple of vac schemes (or more) to land an offer. As I am not currently in employment, I'm considering self-funding the SQE to start early next year, in case I'm unsuccessful with this vac scheme. I think earlier on when the SQE was first being marketed this wasn't advised as it was still uncertain as to what the firms would do, but looking at their updated websites and having attended the Legal Cheek Law Fair yesterday it seems like many of them will be migrating over to the SQE within the next year or two. I was wondering what the general consensus is at the moment on whether this would be a good move or still too risky. My alternative is to get another job, I was hoping to be able to paralegal but I see that many paralegal positions these days advertise that they prefer if you have done / will complete the SQE/LPC so it's a bit of a catch 22 :S Being in full time employment next year would also basically limit me to applying only for direct TCs as I wouldn't have flexibility to do a vac scheme.

Appreciate any advice on this! @Jessica Booker any thoughts?
 
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anxiouslawyer

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Junior Lawyer
Feb 26, 2021
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(Better people will be along soon, but you might find it simpler just to do the LPC - one course, one st of exams set by the same institution, tried and tested as you have an LLB already that route is still open to you)
Hi Jane, thanks for the reply - I think my concern with doing the LPC instead is that it seems like most of the firms I'm interested in are migrating to the SQE in the next 1-2 years so I'm not sure if they would be keen on a candidate that has taken a different qualification route to the rest of the trainee batch?
 

Jane Smith

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Sep 2, 2020
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May be or they will certainly be used to the LPC and if you have taken it and passed it that might be more straightforward for them. If you have passed the LPC when obtaining a paralegal role I don't think that would be held against you compared with if you do SQE1 and 2 courses and then exams for those courses. Also if you do the existing LPC you can do electives suitable to your preferred work area whereas with the SQE that might not be possible unless you pay extra and add that on to the courses. I doubt there is any firm at the moent who thinks SQE1 and 2 will be more rigorous than your law degree plus LPC but I do agree with you that firms are moving over the SQE I think next year for trainees who have not done the LPC.
 

Jessica Booker

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Aug 1, 2019
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Hi Jane, thanks for the reply - I think my concern with doing the LPC instead is that it seems like most of the firms I'm interested in are migrating to the SQE in the next 1-2 years so I'm not sure if they would be keen on a candidate that has taken a different qualification route to the rest of the trainee batch?
The LPC will exempt you from SQE1 though, so something potentially still to consider.
 

Jessica Booker

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Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
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Hi there, a little background about me : I'm a career changer (used to work in telco regulatory compliance), and have recently migrated to the UK on a family visa. I graduated from my LLB and Master's in 2016/2017, and my past few years' work experience has been at a large telco company in my home country due to some scholarship obligations.

The last application cycle, I applied to mostly direct TCs and was not successful with any of them, though I did manage to get a vacation scheme placement that I requested to defer to this winter due to visa/travel challenges. Whilst I am hopeful that this placement would result in a TC offer, I'm well aware that sometimes it can take a few application cycles and a couple of vac schemes (or more) to land an offer. As I am not currently in employment, I'm considering self-funding the SQE to start early next year, in case I'm unsuccessful with this vac scheme. I think earlier on when the SQE was first being marketed this wasn't advised as it was still uncertain as to what the firms would do, but looking at their updated websites and having attended the Legal Cheek Law Fair yesterday it seems like many of them will be migrating over to the SQE within the next year or two. I was wondering what the general consensus is at the moment on whether this would be a good move or still too risky. My alternative is to get another job, I was hoping to be able to paralegal but I see that many paralegal positions these days advertise that they prefer if you have done / will complete the SQE/LPC so it's a bit of a catch 22 :S Being in full time employment next year would also basically limit me to applying only for direct TCs as I wouldn't have flexibility to do a vac scheme.

Appreciate any advice on this! @Jessica Booker any thoughts?
My personal view is that this is no different to people considering to self fund the LPC. You just have to weigh up whether your personal circumstances are one where you can take the financial hit in the short term in the hope it will help you with longer term goals.

The risk could pay off though. There is likely to be many more prospective trainees who don’t pass the SQE when compared to the LPC, and that in turn might play to your advantage if firms have to top up their recruitment where they haven’t got enough trainees who pass.

However, there are risks too - some firms are running their TCs with the SQE prep included (generally 30 months instead of 24) and in those instances, you may find it difficult to convince those firms who if you have already passed the course (although, to be fair they could just reduce your TC down to 24 months).

I don’t think there is any rush to make a decision on this though and if anything, I’d wait and see how your vac scheme goes before making any decisions.
 

anxiouslawyer

Distinguished Member
Junior Lawyer
Feb 26, 2021
63
74
My personal view is that this is no different to people considering to self fund the LPC. You just have to weigh up whether your personal circumstances are one where you can take the financial hit in the short term in the hope it will help you with longer term goals.

The risk could pay off though. There is likely to be many more prospective trainees who don’t pass the SQE when compared to the LPC, and that in turn might play to your advantage if firms have to top up their recruitment where they haven’t got enough trainees who pass.

However, there are risks too - some firms are running their TCs with the SQE prep included (generally 30 months instead of 24) and in those instances, you may find it difficult to convince those firms who if you have already passed the course (although, to be fair they could just reduce your TC down to 24 months).

I don’t think there is any rush to make a decision on this though and if anything, I’d wait and see how your vac scheme goes before making any decisions.

Thanks so much for the response Jessica! Of course no rush for me to make any decisions on this yet - just something that was on my mind as I over-worry about converting my vac scheme into a TC. The firm I'll be doing the vac scheme with has 100 VC placements and gives out about 60 TC offers each year so just very much aware it's not a guarantee.
 

Jessica Booker

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Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
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Thanks so much for the response Jessica! Of course no rush for me to make any decisions on this yet - just something that was on my mind as I over-worry about converting my vac scheme into a TC. The firm I'll be doing the vac scheme with has 100 VC placements and gives out about 60 TC offers each year so just very much aware it's not a guarantee.
By the time they don’t offer people who don’t meet the benchmark and then people decline their offers for other firms, 60 out of 100 is actually quite achievable.
 
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