If you are studying for the GDL or LPC, the next step you will need to take to qualify is a Period of Recognised Training (PRT). This is often referred to as the ‘training contract’. It means that your work experience in the run up to qualification will only be recognised if it is undertaken with an authorised training provider and is supervised. Normally this should be for a period of at least two years full-time, or equivalent.
As a trainee, you will need to register with the SRA and create your own MySRA account, in which your training will be logged.
You will be required during your training contract to keep your own record of your training, which should include your reflections on the feedback you receive. You can read the relevant SRA’s regulation here.
During your training contract you will also be expected to complete the short Professional Skills Course which will reinforce the business and financial skills and client care skills that you will be expected to develop in the course of your training.
If you are studying for the GDL or LPC and have not yet secured a training contract, you should consult your university careers service for guidance.
If you are following the SQE route to qualification, the rules around work experience are slightly different:
• You will not be expected to register as a trainee with the SRA.
• You can obtain your qualifying work experience in one go or in stages but it cannot come from more than four organisations.
• QWE can be paid or unpaid work and, in addition to traditional employment as a trainee or paralegal in a law firm or legal department of some other kind of organisation, it could include: A placement undertaken as part of a law degree, working in a law clinic at university, volunteering for a charity or law centre.
• The SRA will expect that as you gain your qualifying work experience, you develop the competences which are expected of every solicitor on qualification.
• You will be responsible for recording your training as you will need to submit this record to the SRA in order to gain admission. The SRA has developed a helpful template to help with this process which you can access here together with other useful FAQs about gaining work experience under the SQE route.