Alternative to the LLB

In order to qualify as a solicitor, most people will go to University to study the LLB.  However, there is an alternative to the LLB. This involves entering into a three-year 'pre-Diploma training contract' with a Scottish solicitor and studying for the Society's professional exams.  This route is typically taken by those who already have jobs working in an office with a Scottish solicitor.  People who take this alternative route are still required to obtain a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice and to undertake a traineeship.

Individuals taking this route should expect to balance working life with studying for examinations, which can be extremely challenging.  The Law Society of Scotland does not provide any courses in preparation for its exams and candidates must undertake study of their own accord.  Neither can the Law Society source pre-Diploma training contracts for prospective applicants.

For detailed information on the requirements of the pre-Diploma training contract, interested applicants should contact Martyn Robinson at

Changes to the Law Society’s exams (September 2016)

From September 2016, the Law Society will require new candidates to sit an updated exam regime.  For those that started on this route to qualification prior to September 2016, nothing will change.  These candidates will continue to sit the exams as set out at their time of enrolment.

The changes ensure that the alternative route to qualification is aligned, so far as possible, with the Society’s Foundation programme outcomes, which students studying the LLB are required to achieve.  Students who commenced on this route prior to September 2016 will not be prejudiced and all of their qualifications will continue to be recognised for entry to the profession.

The changes noted above include the addition of a reflective learning log, to be completed as part of the pre-Diploma traineeship, the introduction of a face-to-face presentation, the introduction of ‘coursework’ (as opposed to pure examination) and the requirement to complete the Legal System and Legal Method module first.

Timing and detail of the exams

The Law Society of Scotland's professional examinations are usually held in February and August.  Full details of the pre and post September 2016 exam syllabi and reading lists are contained in the 'Guidelines, syllabus and reading list' pdf, on the right hand side of this page. A copy of the exam timetable and the application form for examinations is also available on the right hand side of this page.

Exam enrolment forms must be submitted 6 weeks prior to an exam

Past exam papers are available free of charge.

For further information please contact Martyn Robinson at