SQE2: Understanding the Framework and the Path to Success

June 10, 2024
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The SQE2 is the final assessment for solicitor qualification in England and Wales. It's a practical examination designed to test the application of legal knowledge in real-world scenarios. Unlike SQE1, which assesses functioning legal knowledge, SQE2 measures practical legal skills including client interviewing, advocacy, legal research, legal writing, and case and matter analysis.

Structure of SQE2

SQE2 is divided into two main sections: oral and written skills. The oral skills section comprises of client interviewing, attendance note/legal analysis, and advocacy. The written skills section, on the other hand, covers case and matter analysis, legal research, legal writing, and legal drafting. It's noteworthy that each of these skills is assessed in the context of five practice areas: Business Law, Property Law, Dispute Resolution, Wills and Probate, and Criminal Litigation.

Preparing for SQE2

SQE2 preparation should focus on the development and refinement of practical skills. Aspirants are advised to gain practical experience through legal work placements, pro bono work, or simulation exercises. Using SQE-preparation courses can also be beneficial.

For oral skills, practicing role-play exercises and receiving feedback can help in improving communication skills and understanding the nuances of client interaction. Similarly, for written skills, regular practice of drafting legal documents, performing legal research, and writing concise legal analyses can significantly enhance performance.

Challenges & Overcoming Them

One of the challenges that candidates often face during SQE2 preparation is the application of legal knowledge in practical scenarios. This transition from theory to practice can be overcome through continuous practice and seeking mentorship from experienced legal practitioners. Another challenge is time management during the examination. Simulated practice under timed conditions can help candidates become more adept at managing their time efficiently.


SQE2, as a practical examination, places the onus on candidates to demonstrate they possess the skills necessary for competent practice. A strategic and consistent approach towards preparation, coupled with continuous practice, can help candidates navigate this stage of their qualification journey effectively.

As we move towards a more skills-focused approach in legal education and qualification, understanding and mastering the requirements of SQE2 is an essential step for aspiring solicitors.

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