Published: 17 April 2024

Five reasons to study our LLM in Professional Legal Practice (SQE Pathway)

Find out why you should choose Surrey to take your first step to qualify as a solicitor by studying our LLM in Professional Legal Practice (SQE Pathway).

Bundles of manuscripts being proofed

1. Get the skills every lawyer needs  

This course will equip you with the legal knowledge required to prepare for the challenging Solicitors Qualifying Exam 1 (SQE 1). SQE is the assessment for all aspiring solicitors in England and Wales. By taking this course you’ll improve your chances of success in the SQE and strengthen your CV with a masters in law.  

In addition to giving you a rigorous preparation for SQE 1, our LLM modules will equip you with practical skills in legal research, writing, advocacy, negotiation, drafting and interviewing. These will provide a good foundation for future SQE 2 preparation and law-related job applications. Our aim is to prepare you for legal practice, not just the qualifying exams.  

You will be given access to a bespoke online SQE learning tool, embedded within our virtual learning environment (SurreyLearn), which includes a substantial bank of practice questions and two mock examinations.   

Proceedings in University of Surrey's Court of the Future

2. Gain real-world experience  

You’ll be given the opportunity to participate in our clinical justice education programme which we run for the local community as well as for students. This includes: 

  • Access to Justice clinics which advise local people on their rights and ways to access legal solutions 
  • Business Start-Up clinic 
  • Digital Law Clinic.

In these clinics, you’ll help clients both in-person and online under close expert supervision. 

Our Court of the Future is an on-site facility which mirrors the layout of a typical English law court. Our students use this setting to practise their advocacy and negotiating skills, and to explore the skills necessary to support clients in a courtroom environment in mock trials when preparing for assessment.  

You’ll also be able to apply your learning in the Surrey Law and Technology Hub which forges close links to work on complex digital transformation and law-related research topics  

Guildford is a well-established legal centre, and we have close links with the local courts so students will have opportunities to gain real-life courtroom experience. Surrey is only half an hour’s train journey from the capital so you’ll easily be able to observe courts in action in London. 

The Practical Employability Skills module provides you with the opportunity to consider global career pathways and Turing opportunities. The University of Surrey has over 20 partner universities including Europe, Australia and America. UK-qualified lawyers can and do frequently work in – or with – overseas jurisdictions.  

To further enhance your employability, local practitioners will teach and assess on the programme. 

We will also provide you with advice and support to assist you in completing the Qualifying Work Experience component of the SQE Qualification Pathway. 

3. Benefit from personalised academic and professional support from our dedicated academic team  

You will be taught by a team of staff who are practising lawyers, highly experienced research academics and committed to your personal and professional development. In addition to preparing students for SQE 1, our academics will offer bespoke support and advice about applications to law firms, Qualifying Work Experience, further study and preparation for SQE 2.  

Surrey's School of Law academics, Mala Sharma, Katy Peters and Claire Lillywhite

Dr Katy Peters (pictured centre in photo) is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Employability in the School of Law, a member of Surrey’s Law and Technology Hub, and an Affiliate of Surrey’s Institute for People-Centred AI. Katy is a practising solicitor and a Law Society Learning Expert in Mental Capacity Law.  

Claire Lillywhite (pictured right) is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Employability in the School of Law. Before joining the University of Surrey, Claire was a tutor on the Legal Practice Course at the University of Law, Guildford. Claire practised as a solicitor in London, specialising in Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence. 

Before joining Surrey, Dr Mala Sharma (pictured left) served as the Course Director of Postgraduate Law (Practice Focus) at a London-based university. During her tenure, she played a key role in the development and launch of their innovative LLM programme focused on legal practice and SQE preparation, showcasing her leadership and vision in legal education. Mala is an alumna of Surrey, having completed her PhD here. She is a qualified Advocate in India and is also a (non-practising) solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales. Mala will be drawing on her own experience of preparing for and passing the SQE to teach you the most effective way to prepare for the assessment.

Katy, Claire and Elizabeth Williams, our Director of Clinical Legal Education Programmes, share a long-standing commitment to the value of embedding employability in university law programmes and have written and published on this topic.  

In addition to our dedicated teaching team, you will benefit from the wide range of learning and teaching methods used on the course, including: 

  • Directed learning using online tools and mock assessments 
  • Lecturer-led introductory sessions 
  • Experiential learning methods; including use of the School of Law's technology enhanced replica courtroom. 
  • Interactive workshop seminars with peer-to-peer review and feedback 
  • Guest speakers and workshops 
Court of the Future participants

4. Use our professional network to expand your own contacts

You will be supported as you apply your academic learning to the professional environment through our extensive network of local and national legal contacts. This strong network has been made possible because of our long-established placement training programme, as well as 3,000 School of Law alumni, many of whom return to advise current students on their career paths. We will share our national network of legal employers with you so you can expand your contacts and experience to launch your career as a solicitor.  


Our extensive legal network and a keen interest in developing each of our students allows us to map out the employment opportunities that best match their skills, interests and strengths.

Professor Bebhinn Donnelly-Lazarov, Head of School of Law

The programme draws on the expertise and experience of our Employability and Careers team, and you will benefit from 1:1 employability appointments as well as from professional networking opportunities and links with our extensive alumni community through SurreyConnects. After you graduate, you will continue to have access to Surrey Pathfinder, a digital hub with 24/7 access giving careers appointments and event bookings, jobs, placements and interactive development tools.

Duke of Kent Building

5. Enjoy the full university experience  

You can enjoy the full university experience whilst studying with us: you’ll be able to access to our campus facilities, learning support, a specialist library, a thriving student community, and the Surrey Sports Park. 

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