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student experiences

student experiences

Dan Abel

Qualified solicitor and LLM student, passed SQE1 and SQE2 with the College

I’m Dan, and I’m a qualified solicitor who studied the College’s LLM in Legal Practice. I passed SQE1 and SQE2 with the College whilst working as an Advice Session Supervisor for Citizens Advice in Carlisle. The College allowed me to continue my work with Citizens Advice, which I loved for many years, while working towards my aspirations to fully qualify as a solicitor. I am also part of the local LGBTQ+ community and I am involved in a local LGBTQ+ charity in my spare time. I have now moved on to another position as Supervising Solicitor at Cumbria Law Centre.


Why did you choose to study with The College of Legal Practice?

There were three reasons behind my choice to go with The College of Legal Practice: affordability, flexibility, and support.

The College of Legal Practice was the most affordable option for me within my personal circumstances. It gave me the chance to keep studying while working, as well as being fully covered via a postgraduate loan with Student Finance England which not only covered my LLM course fees but also the SQE fees.

Flexibility was also extremely important to me, as I knew my studies needed to fit around my full-time work with Citizens Advice, and I had limited flexibility. The LLM is all online, so I didn’t need to relocate, and much of the learning is designed to fit around your commitments, as opposed to your commitments fitting around it. That being said, the SQE is quite the undertaking - you still need to put in the work. Flexibility, for me, meant I could do this at a time of my choosing around my work commitments.

Finally, I wanted to study somewhere I felt supported, and not just another number on a screen. The pastoral support has been second to none as I have a personal tutor who truly cares about me and my progression, whom I know I can contact whenever I need.


Reflections on the College’s LLM in Legal Practice Programme

I really enjoyed my two years with The College of Legal Practice. The pastoral support and 1-2-1 supervision really stood out. The time and dedication my tutor gave me was fantastic, and I also really enjoyed the group sessions, which allowed me to ensure I was keeping on track with my studies and the module content.

I found the spread of course content really manageable and intellectually stimulating. I liked that the College covered several topics at once to get a real breadth of understanding, and this also prevented me from getting too bogged down in one topic.

Each week, we were sent a calendar of what work we would need to complete throughout the week, with suggested times and days to complete them by. I found this very beneficial to keep me engaged and on task. The suggested days were optional, as the course is flexible, but I knew that having a dedicated list of what I needed to complete stopped me from losing track of time, and helped me fit my studies into my busy schedule. To be honest, it was more tricky for SQE2 preparation to fit the individual skills practices and feedbacks into my working day – something for you to be aware of when you are planning your study.

I also really rated the original materials the College provided throughout my studies. Each guide has numbered paragraphs which correspond to example exam questions, which particularly for SQE1 meant that if I found a particular question harder there was a clear place to go to revise and improve.

The SLS resources set me up for success with good scores on the SQE2 too.


What's the support been like at the College?

For me, the most notable experience had to be the incredible support I received from the College. My personal tutor was a practising lawyer who not only had a world class knowledge, but incredible enthusiasm and a genuine care for my progression. One particular instance of this happening was between the SQE1 finishing and SQE2 starting. I had a chat with my personal tutor for 15 minutes over Zoom about my fears over the exam. It was a short chat, but it helped me focus on what I needed to do, instead of letting the panic take over!


Post-qualification and some tips

As I already had completed my two years qualifying work experience, I am now a qualified solicitor and have been able to find a supervising solicitor role at Cumbria Law Centre. The SQE route to qualification has greatly helped me progress my career and take that next step.

To help others understand more about preparing for the SQE and the assessments, I have written up my experiences, and you can find them here:

My experiences of taking the SQE1 assessment

My experiences of taking the SQE2 assessment

My reflections on the SQE2 prep course at the College

I have also reviewed my elective modules, some of which I liked more than others!

If you would like to ask me any questions about studying for the SQE or with the College, feel free to get in contact via my LinkedIn page.

I’d like to thank everyone at the College of Legal Practice for their support in preparing me to ace the SQE and progress in my legal career. Their commitment to me as a student has gone above and beyond my expectations when applying for the course.

This case study was written 19/04/2024.


“I didn’t want to just be another number on a screen - I wanted access to a tutor who would get to know me and be able to support me through my journey. After a lot of research that led me to The College of Legal Practice”. - Dan Abel, LLM in Legal Practice student.