Until 2021, the Legal Practice Course (LPC) was the vocational stage of training mandated for those seeking to be a solicitor. In September 2021, the LPC was replaced by the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE). However, there are several transitional arrangements in place which will see some candidates continue to complete the LPC instead of the SQE up until 31 December 2032. Aspiring solicitors can continue with the LPC route to qualify as a solicitor if they have completed, started, accepted an offer, or paid a non-refundable deposit for one of the following by 31 August 2021:
- A Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) / the Common Professional Examination (CPE)
- The Legal Practice Course (LPC)
- A period of recognised training (also known as a training contract)
Furthermore, for a qualifying law degree (QLD) such as the LLB and exempting law degree (ELD), you must have completed, started, accepted an offer or paid a non-refundable deposit by 21 September 2021. In most cases, for the QLD, ELD and CPE, the relevant course must have started at the latest on or before 31 December 2021. If you have already started a qualifying law degree, GDL or training contract there are available transition arrangements in place until 31 December 2032 to qualify as a solicitor under the current routes, as long as courses remain available.
Now that is out of the way, let’s delve into tips for thriving on the LPC
If you have ever heard someone describe the LPC as a full-time role, that person is not far from the truth; as the hours that you have to dedicate to the LPC is akin to what you’d be expected from in a full-time job. No, we are not using a job as a solicitor as our estimate for this opinion (as that would be more like a double full-time role). Overall, in a week you are looking at 40-45 hours of doing schoolwork; this is also dependent on how much school material you have to cover in that particular week. Ideally, when you are on the LPC, you’ll want it to be your main focus every week. Those doing the LPC part-time still treat it like a full-time role, that way you will be ahead of the workload.
Enjoy the Pain of Discipline
There are no two ways about it, the LPC workload is intense but it is and will always be manageable if you stay committed, organised and disciplined in your pursuit of the course. Unlike your undergraduate degree where there will be weeks when you can go without having to turn a page in your textbook or even choose to not go to class, attempting such the LPC is a sure way of welcoming disaster into your fold. By practising discipline you’ll be able to stay focused on achieving your LPC goals and persevere with the actions necessary for the attainment of those goals (like reading). It’s only by discipline that you will be able to attend your weekly seminars, and not neglect your workshops, assessment and private research.
All Topics Matter for your Exam
In a different blog post, we discussed steps to take when revising for your law exams. The blog listed the following steps as important to succeeding at your university: divide & conquer; prepare; include authorities; choose your strength and do past questions. While the steps listed in that post are pertinent to a university student and can be applied for your LPC exams to some extent, at no point in time should you commit to the need of dividing and conquering when preparing for your LPC exams. Instead, it is good practice to learn everything about the topics because you will be tested on most of the topics if not all of them. Do not make the mistake of trying to guess the most likely topics for your exam. You might think that this might be overwhelming but you did well on your degree, so you can do well here also. Additionally, depending on your LPC provider you might be allowed to bring in some materials into the exam hall which you should take advantage of.
Make Notes or Keep Tabs
As said earlier, some LPC providers provide for an open book exam – meaning you can bring in materials into the exam hall. Most smart LPC students will take advantage of this feature by employing the process of annotation, and so should you. With annotation, you can mark up a book to make a note of things that are important or that you want to remember. For some LPC students, their preferred way to do this will be the use of tabs to mark important places in the textbook. Others might prefer the use of making their notes to be more beneficial during the exams. Do not however go into the exam relying only on your notes or tabs as you are normally given three hours to complete each exam. Just make effective notes and/or tab each important page that will help make them easy to find when you require them.
Nail Down the Art of Preparation
The best way to excel at your LPC is to get the best grades you can, and one of the best ways to get the best grades is to prepare, and one of the best ways to prepare is to engage in completing mock assessments before the final ones that count. When preparing for mock exams prepare like you’d prepare for the final exams, this way you’d be able to give it your best shot, and in the process learn the technique of learning that best benefits you – do you prefer notes or tabs, do you prefer visual learning or poring over your books, is the quiet of the library your thing or do you prefer the quiet of a park or the quiet of your home, and so forth. Further, by engaging in the formative assessments, you will get necessary feedback from your lecturers. So when the D-Day rolls around, you’ll be fine no matter the topic you may face.
Live, relax and breathe. But you might say there’s a lot of work to be done, and I don’t have the time to relax, and that would be true to some extent – yes there’s a lot of work, but no you do have the time to take care of yourself. You might think that the LPC is the hardest thing ever, and you cannot survive. But you probably might have thought the same about your undergraduate degree, and also might have thought the same for your A-levels and so forth. In so speaking, please do endeavour to take care of yourself, hit the gym, go for a drink, go for a hangout with friends, and more.
Charles is a writer, practising lawyer and personal trainer who loves learning and developing himself. He graduated from Middlesex University, London with eight first-class grades in the second and third years of his law degree, and received a postgraduate offer from Cambridge University. He loves strength training, boxing and encouraging people to succeed in their pursuits (legal ones)
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