Everything you need to know about Qualifying Work Experience

By Freedom Law Clinic | uncategorised | Published on April 22, 2024

The Freedom Law Clinic offers a unique programme that integrates Solicitors Qualifying Examination training (SQE) with qualifying work experience (QWE). This combination sets us apart as a standout provider in legal education and professional development. 

Our QWE involves students delivering essential free legal assistance to members of the public. 

We believe that practical work experience not only expedites the qualification process but also enhances the learning journey for aspiring solicitors preparing for the SQE.

You can request a copy of our QWE manual through whatsapp or email, via our website

Two pathways

Our online QWE programme is designed to provide candidates with immersive and practical exposure to real-life legal scenarios, equipping them with the necessary competences and skills to excel in their future legal careers. We offer two distinct pathways: a stand-alone QWE programme and our integrated SQE and QWE programme, ensuring flexibility and tailored experiences for our candidates.

The SQE is not just a theoretical examination; it’s a test of one’s ability to think and reason like a lawyer, requiring nuanced judgment in selecting the most appropriate legal solutions. Our approach to QWE recognises the pivotal role that real-world experience plays in developing this judgment and critical thinking ability.

What counts as QWE?

The SRA say that QWE must involve providing legal services as defined by the Legal Services Act 2007.  

Section 3 of the Act states: 

In this Act “legal activity” means—

(a)an activity which is a reserved legal activity within the meaning of this Act as originally enacted, and

(b)any other activity which consists of one or both of the following—

(i)the provision of legal advice or assistance in connection with the application of the law or with any form of resolution of legal disputes;

(ii)the provision of representation in connection with any matter concerning the application of the law or any form of resolution of legal dispute.

Our work at the clinic involves the provision of legal assistance to members of the public. This will involve applying the law to resolve disputes.

The experience must be in a in a genuine, non-simulated capacity. This encompasses roles within law firms, in-house legal teams, or other legal service providers where legal activities are central to the role. For instance, working as a paralegal, contributing to a law clinic, or participating in a placement during a law degree can all constitute QWE.

Candidates can accumulate this experience before, during, or after completing the SQE assessments. Additionally, QWE can be accrued across multiple organisations, whether in paid or voluntary positions, within England, Wales, or even overseas.

Questions to ask

To determine if a job or role qualifies as QWE, candidates can consider the following questions:

Does or did the role involve providing legal services as defined by the Legal Services Act 2007?

Was the legal service provision genuine and not simulated?

Were at least two competences from the Statement of Solicitor Competence covered?

Was the experience gained from no more than four organisations?

Was the duration of the experience at least two years’ full-time equivalent?

At the Freedom Law Clinic, we are committed to guiding candidates through their QWE journey. Our solicitors are trained to identify and assess competences, providing comprehensive feedback to help candidates meet the requirements outlined in the Statement of Solicitor Competence.

If you’re interested in developing your QWE then get in contact via Whatsapp or email today.

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