By Lauren Bowie
When I was applying to university, I had no idea about the journey from university to qualification as a solicitor. In case other people are in the same position, I have compiled all the information you need to know about the three routes available to qualify as a solicitor in Scotland.
The Undergraduate Route
This is the most traditional route which consists of an undergraduate degree in Scots Law (LLB) which takes four years, then the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (DPLP) which lasts one year. Then, a two-year traineeship including qualifying examinations at a law firm or legal department must be completed. Ultimately, this route takes seven years.
During the undergraduate degree, students must ensure they study specific subjects that meet the requirements of the Law Society of Scotland. Generally, these subjects are mandatory in your first and second year of study.
Until third year, I was unaware that entrance to the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice is based on how you perform in these subjects (excluding European Union Law). Luckily, I was accepted into the DPLP but as my average grade for these courses would barely scrape a 2:1, the wait from application to acceptance was filled with anxiety.
The Graduate Route
This route is for those who already have an undergraduate degree in any subject. It consists of an accelerated degree in Scots Law (LLB) which takes two years, then the DPLP and traineeship. Ultimately, this route takes five years. During the accelerated degree, you will study the core modules mentioned above and do not have to study any Honours courses or submit a dissertation.
The Alternative Route
This alternative route is known as the pre-PEAT Training Contract and consists of working in the office of a solicitor whilst undertaking a Work Based Learning Module and studying for exams.
In order to be admitted to the Law Society of Scotland as a solicitor, under the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980, a person must be deemed ‘a fit and proper person to be a solicitor.’ This will be considered upon application for an entrance certificate, entrance to the roll and application for both a restricted and full practising certificate, and will take into account factors including (but not limited to):
· Disregard for the rule of law
· Lack of probity
· Unlawful conduct
· Any other behaviour which suggests a material risk of harm to clients or others
Hopefully this article is helpful! I have attached a diagram from the Law Society of Scotland website which may make understanding everything easier. If you need any more information, please check out their website: https://www.lawscot.org.uk/qualifying-and-education/qualifying-as-a-scottish-solicitor/