Student Spotlight: Dan Abel
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I’m Dan. I studied LLB Law at the University of Cumbria between 2013 – 2016 and graduated with First class honours. Since then, I have worked various roles at Citizens Advice Carlisle & Eden covering topics including money advice, housing rights for ex-offenders, and as a welfare benefits adviser.
At present I am an Advice Supervisor. In this role I support our team with the practicalities of our advice sessions to ensure that we give accurate and good quality advice.
I am particularly interested in family law and social welfare law including welfare benefits, housing and employment.
Why did you choose to take the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE)?
I chose the SQE route because I did not want a traditional training contract meaning that an LPC was not a suitable option for me. Whilst qualifying as a solicitor does appeal to me, I love my job and did not want to leave it. I work for Citizens Advice Carlisle & Eden in the third sector and a training contract with my employer was not an option that was available. The SQE route to qualification provides me with the opportunity of becoming a solicitor whilst having my existing experience count as Qualifying Work Experience.
Why did you choose to study at the College of Legal Practice?
I chose the College of Legal Practice for three reasons.
First, I wanted a course that was affordable with postgraduate funding from Student Finance. The College of Legal Practice has a masters course which costs £6900 meaning the student loan covers both the tuition and the SQE fees.
Second, I needed to study online and in a way which is flexible alongside work.
Third, I wanted to make sure I was fully supported in my studies and had access to a tutor to help keep me on track and for pastoral support along the way.
The College so far has been brilliant and has definitely lived up to expectations. I have regular supervision sessions as well as group sessions to keep me on track with the self-guided online studies.
How are you finding studying alongside working full-time?
Preparing for the SQE is intense. That does not mean it is not doable, though. I am finding it to be a fine balance to make sure that I am managing to keep on track with my studies and spending an adequate amount of time on the course content.
The College are great in supporting on this. Students have a calendar that shows all of the work that needs to be completed that week. For example, I currently have seven sub-units a week to complete. The College recommend a structure on what days I do each sub-unit but so long as the work is completed by the Sunday of that week it is entirely flexible to my needs and time commitments.
What advice would you give to people considering the SQE?
1) Time:Consider the time commitments. Preparing for the SQE is a huge undertaking. Make sure you consider whether you can manage alongside other commitments and choose to prepare for the SQE at a time that suits you. If you’re working I recommend taking the part-time route to make sure you can adequately prepare.
2) Cost:Remember that the SQE fees are separate to any course preparation fees. If cost is likely to be a difficulty then you may be able to get student finance if you choose to do a masters course.
3) Qualifying Work Experience:You need to have two years of qualifying work experience as well as passing the SQE in order to be admitted as a solicitor. Make sure you have a plan on how you will gain that experience.
4) Practice makes perfect:There is A LOT of content to cover to successfully prepare for the SQE. Make sure you work into your study time plenty of time to revise and revisit materials. This is not an exam you can cram for!
You can find out about all of our courses and opportunities across the website, including a dedicated page about, what is the SQE?