The route to being a solicitor is a challenging one; both academically and mentally. As it is a lengthy process, which takes a number of years to complete, it is also an expensive one.

There are several routes into becoming a solicitor, the most traditional including A-Levels, an LLB law degree, the LPC, and then a two-year training contract in order to qualify. Alternative routes include a non-law degree followed by the PGDL, which then leads to a training contract. Plus, now you can become a solicitor through the SQE route too!

Additionally, some are able to qualify by starting out as a paralegal and working their way up to being a trainee solicitor. However, whichever route you choose to take, prepare for it to cost a large amount of money.


Whether you choose to study an LLB law degree or a non-law subject, the cost of the undergraduate course will usually be £9,250 no matter which University you attend. These are just the tuition fees, and they are covered by an undergraduate tuition loan in the UK.

On top of tuition fees, most students will be paying for accommodation, or spending money on public transport if commuting to University. These costs can be covered by an undergraduate maintenance loan, but this type of loan is dependant on household income, so you may have to contribute to this with your own money.

Undergraduate maintenance loans depend on household income, vary depending on whether you live at home or student accommodation, and also differ depending on whether you live in London. You can get up to £9,203 if you live outside London, and £12,010 if you live in London.

Additionally, degrees include a lot of reading, and books are usually not included within the tuition fees. You will be able to borrow most of the books you need from your University library, but if you want to have your own copy, this is an additional cost to your degree.

If you do a non-law degree, you will need to study the PGDL. This costs between £7,000 to £12,000 depending on where you choose to study.

Take a look at our LLB Guides to help you better navigate your university studies.

Legal Practice Course

After completing a qualifying law degree or the PGDL, you must then take the Legal Practice Course (LPC) as the next step to becoming a solicitor. This can be completed part time or full time, and course fees depend on where you choose to study.

Fees can range from £9,000 to £17,000 dependant on the institution. The LPC alone is not classed as a master’s degree and therefore cannot be covered by a postgraduate loan.

However, studying the LPC integrated with a master’s degree, known as the LLM Masters of Law, does qualify for the postgraduate loan. This is different to an undergraduate loan. The postgraduate loan is not based on household income, unlike undergraduate; a sum of £11,222 can be granted to cover both course and living costs. The loan is not divided into tuition and maintenance fees, which means you may have to contribute more of your own money for living costs, depending on your course fees.

Most Universities offer a fee reduction for postgraduate courses if you studied at that institution as an undergraduate student. Therefore, staying on to study the LPC at the same university as your undergraduate degree may be a way of reducing cost. As well as this, some institutions may have scholarships for students who meet certain requirements, such as coming from a low-income household, or having a disability.

Books are sometimes included within the course fees, but if not, this is an additional cost too.

As the LPC has a part time study option, this is one way to have greater flexibility to work alongside your studies to fund the course. The full time course does not leave much time to work alongside studying, so the part time course is a better way to do this.

The best way to fund the LPC is to gain sponsorship from a law firm. If you are able to obtain a training contract with a law firm prior to studying the LPC, sometimes the firm will pay the course fees, and award you a maintenance grant to fund living costs whilst studying. These grants vary from firm to firm, but magic circle firms in London have been known to grant £7,000 living costs for the year.

Unsure whether to study at the University of Law or at BPP University? Take a look at our comprehensive comparison of the two.

Solicitors Qualifying Exam

The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), which was introduced in 2021, will eventually replace the LPC as a way of training as a solicitor. This will involve two stages of exams, known as the SQE1 and SQE2, and will also require a period of qualifying work experience.

The fees for the SQE are much lower than that of the LPC. The total cost of both SQE assessments will be £3,980.

However, these fees do not include SQE training and preparation, so this will depend on the institution you choose to undertake this training at.

As these assessments do not qualify as a postgraduate study, they are not covered by an academic loan. Again, if you have obtained a training contract with a law firm, they may be willing to cover these costs.