Legal Practice Course (LPC) Overview
Are you keen to find out more about the LPC, what it entails and how you go about applying? Well, look no further! This page tells you everything you need to know about the LPC to get ahead of the game.
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NOTE: As of today’s date, to pursue a career as a solicitor, you will need to complete the LPC following a LLB law degree (unless you undertake a law apprenticeship). However, following the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA’s) announcement on 25 April 2017, the way solicitors will train and qualify will change dramatically once the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) takes effect. The SQE is set to be introduced from September 2020, which will mark the phasing out of the LPC. To find out more, click on the link! The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).
What is the LPC?
The LPC is a vocational postgraduate course which must be completed as part of your training to become a solicitor. It is the next stage of study following completion of either:
The ultimate aim of the LPC is to prepare you for the rigors of legal practice whilst equipping you with the skills and business acumen necessary to become a successful solicitor.
Once you have completed the LPC you can then move on to commence a training contract, which is the final step towards qualification as a solicitor.
What Does the LPC Involve?
The LPC can be studied in one of two ways:
- On a full-time basis (typically up to one year)
- On a part-time basis (typically over two years) alongside another form of employment
Unlike degree stage, where studies tend to be largely academic, the LPC is highly practical. It is designed to simulate the type of work you will encounter during your training contract and beyond. As such, the way you study and the way you are examined are entirely different to what you will have experienced as part of your undergraduate studies.
The course is made up of:
- Lectures (which at many institutions are now delivered conveniently online); and
- Interactive tutorials (small group sessions of approximately 18 students)
The LPC is split into the following two stages.
This stage includes the practical study of:
1) The core practice areas:
- Property law and practice
- Litigation (both civil and criminal)
- Business law and practice
2) Topics such as:
- Solicitors Accounts
- Administration of Estates and Wills
3) Professional skills including:
- Legal research
- Legal writing and drafting
- Interviewing and advising
4) Professional Conduct and Regulation
- This is a set of rules and standards laid down by the SRA which must be followed by practicing solicitors. The aim of the rules is to protect the interests of clients and the public at large. On the LPC, these rules pervade both the core practice areas and the professional skills.
Stage two generally includes the practical study of three elective modules. These cover a variety of legal practice areas, including (but not limited to):
- Commercial law
- Commercial property
- Intellectual property
- Banking and finance
- Family law
- Wills and probate
- Employment law
Your elective choices should ideally reflect any areas of legal practice which are of particular interest to you. However, if you have already secured a training contract, specific electives may be stipulated by the sponsoring law firm in question.
Note: elective choices may vary from law school to law school, so be sure to carry out thorough research before signing up to a course.
Get Help on any stage of the LPC
LPC Entry Requirements
Most institutions will expect you to have completed a UK degree (with a 2:2 as a minimum) or equivalent qualification and, if applicable, to have passed a law conversion course such as the GDL.
Note that a large proportion of law firms will expect you to have gained a 2:1 at degree level (unless extenuating circumstances apply). This, coupled with significant course fees, should be seriously considered when deciding whether to apply for the LPC.
Where Can I Study the LPC?
Our LPC Course Comparison Tool sets out the locations of all the LPC institutions in England and Wales. There’s lots of choice – but note that if you have already secured a training contract, your law firm may have an exclusive arrangement with a particular LPC institution, meaning that you must complete the LPC there.
Full-Time LPC Applications: Process
All full-time LPC course applications must be submitted through a central system known as the Central Applications Board (CAB), although any subsequent offers will come directly from the LPC providers themselves.
The CAB require you to submit:
- The CAB application form (containing up to 3 choices of LPC institution (in order of preference); and
- A registration fee of £18.
A law personal statement of up to 10,000 characters must be included as part of your CAB application. Visit our page on the Law Personal Statement for information on how to successfully write a personal statement for law.
The CAB release applications to the various LPC institutions on a rolling basis. Note that they will only release your applications to your chosen institutions on receipt of your form and fee, along with a formal reference from the referee nominated on your CAB application form. Make sure that permission is therefore sought from any referee prior to submission of the form to save time.
Full-Time LPC Applications: Timings
The timing for submission of your CAB application form and fee will depend largely on the degree studied:
- Qualifying Law Degree Students
CAB applications are accepted from the commencement of your final year of study.
- Non-law Graduates Studying a Law Conversion Course (like the GDL)
CAB applications are accepted from the commencement of your GDL studies.
Full-Time LPC Applications: Deadlines
There are no specific deadlines for applying for LPC courses, although the Central Applications Board suggests making applications at your earliest convenience to limit the possible risk of not securing an LPC place at your preferred institution. It may also be worth checking with the relevant law schools that they do not impose any internal deadlines on applications.
Part-Time LPC Applications
Applications for part-time courses should be made direct to the institutions rather than through the CAB. It is advisable to check each institution’s website for full application details as these vary between law schools.
LPC Course Costs
The cost of LPC courses in England and Wales can vary significantly, with fees ranging between £8,000 and £15,000. If you secure a training contract prior to the commencement of the course, your law firm may cover the course fees and even some of your living expenses. If, however, you do not have this luxury, you will be expected to cover not only the course fees but also any living costs (including accommodation, travel and food) so it is vital to ensure that:
- You have access to the necessary funds before signing up to an LPC course.
- You are absolutely certain you want to go ahead with the course!
Funding the LPC
How you intend to fund your LPC fees and living expenses needs serious consideration. Ways in which funds can be raised include:
- Law School Scholarships
- Flexible law school payment structures
- Part time work
You may consider securing a part time job to help fund your studies. Note, however, that this comes with a health warning, especially if you are enrolled on a full-time course. With all the preparation and study required, in addition to attending classes, time will be limited. What you don’t want is for any part-time work to jeopardise your performance on the course, so it’s crucial you find the right balance between studying and working.
Getting the Most Out of Your LPC Experience
Experienced LPC tutor, Rachel Davis (formerly at BPP) gave The Lawyer Portal her top five tips for success on the LPC:
- Make sure you are fully prepared for all tutorials. Depending on the topic, you may need to set aside two to three hours to prepare for just one session. Thorough preparation will ensure that you hit the ground running, thereby getting the most out of the tutorial.
- Contribute your thoughts and ideas during class discussions. Immerse yourself in the topics and get involved as much as you can. Participating not only helps you to stay engaged, but it is also great for your confidence!
- Ask questions! If there is something you don’t quite understand, make sure you raise it with your tutor who will be more than happy to help. If you don’t feel comfortable asking in front of the class, save your question for the end of the session and ask on a one-to-one basis. Your peers are also good people to ask – I would often overhear students explaining concepts to one another. It’s a great way to learn!
- Don’t skip tutorials or lectures unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to miss sessions for any reason, make sure that you catch up as soon as you can. Given the pace of the LPC, once you start falling behind, it can be very hard to catch up again.
- Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate! After each tutorial or lecture, make sure you check your understanding of what has been covered, maybe even making a few summary notes as you go. This will help to reinforce the topics in your head which should hopefully be of huge benefit when it comes to revision.