Interested in a future career as a lawyer? Use The Beginner’s Guide to a Career in Law to get started
Find out about the various legal apprenticeships on offer and browse vacancies with The Law Apprenticeships Guide
Information on qualifying through the Solicitors Qualifying Exam, including preparation courses, study resources, QWE and more
Discover everything you need to know about developing your knowledge of the business world and its impact on the law
The latest news and updates on the actions being taken to improve diversity and inclusion in the legal profession
Discover advice to help you prepare for and ace your vacation scheme, training contract and pupillage applications
Your first-year guide to a career in law – find out how to kickstart your legal career at this early stage
Your non-law guide to a career in law – everything you need to know about converting to law
updated on 25 January 2023
If you’re thinking of becoming a barrister, see our specific barrister finances page.
The total cost of qualifying as a solicitor can be pricey. Therefore, candidates should think about sources of funding at each stage of the process.
Firstly, there are your undergraduate degree tuition fees to consider. Universities can charge fees of up to £9,250 per year; so, you should check the cost with individual institutions. However, be aware that most universities have opted to charge the maximum tuition fee of around £9,000 to £9,250 per year.
There are two types of loan available for your undergraduate degree:
Most students have to use both types of loan and the loans are repayable after you’ve graduated. In terms of repayments, you pay 9% on any earnings over the repayment threshold of £27,295 a year, £2,274 a month or £524 a week. If you earn less than that, you don’t repay the loan. These figures change on 6 April each year, so check the government website.
Some grants are also available from your university or indirectly when you’ve gone through the normal loans application process (the money actually comes from your local education authority). Government maintenance grants were scrapped by the government in September 2016.
Visit the government’s student finance website for more details on how financial support is administered.
In addition, education charity Brightside has a free online budget calculator – www.studentcalculator.org.uk – which is useful in helping you manage your money once you’re at university.
Previously, if you’d completed a non-law degree, you would’ve had to study the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). However, this has now changed with the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) as the GDL is no longer a requirement to qualify as a solicitor. That said, there are transitional arrangements in place so that those who are eligible can qualify this way should they wish. Fees range up to £13,600 (for a full-time course in London in 2023-24) but can be significantly less outside London. Added to these fees are your own living costs.
Find out more about the transitional arrangements via LawCareers.Net’s SQE hub and the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s website.
Expect to pay up to £19,500 for the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for a full-time course in London in 2023-24 – although you can pay considerably less outside London. Again, added to these fees are your own living costs.
It’s worth noting that education providers will stop offering the LPC after 2032 due to the introduction of the SQE.
You can expect to pay £4,115 for the Solicitors Qualifying Exams (SQE) but this figure doesn’t include the preparation courses that candidates should complete before embarking on the assessments. For example, The University of Law offers a range of SQE preparation courses, including ones specifically for non-law graduates, that range in price. The university’s SQE1 and 2 preparation courses cost £5,900 and £5,650 respectively for 2023-24 in London.
Find out more about the cost and content of SQE preparation courses in LawCareers.Net’s guide and via the courses search.
Student Loans Company postgraduate funding
Postgraduate loans from the government are available only for master’s courses, not diplomas or professional certificates, meaning that postgraduate loans aren’t available for the GDL, standalone LPC or SQE courses.
However, many law schools and universities offer LPCs and SQEs that include a master’s qualification, meaning you can get a postgraduate loan if you choose to study an LLM LPC/LLM legal practice (SQE1&2).
Postgraduate loans go up to a maximum of £11,836 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2022. It’s up to the student to decide how they want to divide the loan between paying course fees and living costs.
Find out more about funding the SQE in this Oracle.
Graduate bank loans
Loans for postgraduate study are also available from many high-street banks.
Loans range from £1,000 to £15,000 and are subject to a suitability assessment. Contact your bank to find out what support it may be able to provide.
Some law firms – particularly international, City or large regional firms – provide GDL and/or LPC/SQE sponsorship upon your acceptance of an offer of a training contract. In some cases, this includes paying back a loan you’ve already taken out.
Sponsorship is sometimes (although rarely) available from other bodies that take on trainees. For instance, the Government Legal Service offers limited financial help for its future trainees.
Use the ‘sponsorship offered’ filter on LawCareers.Net’s training contract search to find firms that offer sponsorship.
If you’re recruited during your degree and the firm offers to sponsor you through your postgraduate course(s), it’ll probably recommend a particular law school or university. You’re then likely to study several modules tailored to the firm’s work areas.
All universities and law schools offer a limited number of scholarships, awards and bursaries. Some may be for students who show exceptional ability, while others exist to support students who couldn’t otherwise afford the course fees.
Learn more about what scholarships are available on your university or law school's website or contact the scholarships team directly.
Some grant-making trusts and charities may offer financial assistance to those seeking to qualify as a solicitor. You can find information about grants, loans and other funds from your local education authority awards officer.
Finally, the Junior Solicitors Network website funding page can provide all prospective and current students with information regarding financial help. The page also provides information about the Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme.