By Harnik Singh Dhaliwal, a Warwick Law School alumnus who is just coming to the end of his LPC.
When I was seeking advice about the Legal Practice Course (LPC) I was reassured by some LPC Graduates that it was an ‘easy course’ and I would have no trouble as I had already made it through my LLB degree at Warwick. I cursed these same advisors for their heinous betrayal of my trust as I struggled through what materialised to be the most challenging course I’d ever undertaken. Yet, having just (last week) finished the LPC I was tempted to give you the same advice and tell you that the LPC is not so bad and even at times…enjoyable. On reflection, I now realise that our achievements appear a lot easier to obtain than they actually were once we’ve made it to the other side. For example, as an undergraduate how would you describe A levels to a GCSE student? Therefore, I will attempt to make my appraisal of what it is like to study the LPC somewhere between the perspective of the angst during the course and the sheer relief afterwards.
How the LPC is Structured
The course is broadly split into 3 types of modules: Core, Skills, and Electives. The core modules are commercially-focused; Business Law and Practice (BLP) is attributed the most amount of contact hours out of all the modules. Getting to grips with this module early will really ease the pressure on you, I speak from experience of the alternative. I am informed by my friends that having studied Company Law at undergraduate level can be a significant help with BLP.
After the core modules come a flurry of skills modules; the main difference between an undergraduate degree and the LPC is the volume of subject-matter covered, the latter being more volume-intensive. Mercifully, the LPC goes into significantly less depth and as the name suggests is much more focused on absorbing ‘practical’ knowledge and skills than a Law degree. Skills modules amount to short intervals between the core and elective elements and range from advocacy to drafting. There is bound to be at least one skill you dislike the idea of, for me it was advocacy, but the scope of the actual assessments of the skills are so confined it is manageable to prepare for all of them sufficiently. In any case, advocacy ended up being the part of the LPC I enjoyed most!
Finally, Electives are like optional modules at undergraduate level. You get 3 choices unless you are fortunate enough to have a training contract, in which case your firm may instruct you which electives to choose. This is arguably the more laid-back side of the course as there is just simply less to juggle with.
Tips and Tricks
- Focus on the SGS (seminar) exercises. Speaking for BPP University only the SGS exercises comprised everything that would be contained in the exam, therefore use the chapters as an aid and not the basis of your preparation/revision.
- Change your mindset – after 3 or more years of being encouraged to think critically, the LPC requires a logical and practical mindset. The LPC is like the application of the law section in every essay question you’ve done, but it’s only that – there’s no space for critique.
- Learn your exam structures – leading on from the last bullet point, having application-focused questions means that there is quite often neat structures which can apply to every question you attempt.
- Use the Careers Service! Early in the year I went on two ‘tours of commercial law firms’ which were basically bespoke open days at various major law firms just for BPP students. I was shocked when only 6 people decided to grab such a great opportunity. The LPC is time-consuming and draining but do try to take some time out to attend the career events – you won’t regret it.
- No Training Contract? – doing all of the above to ensure you get the grade you deserve whilst simultaneously applying to law firms can be too much. I know some of my friends opted to not make applications during their LPC year. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if you feel you have the time-management skills that would be required to juggle both. In any case, the careers service offers many networking opportunities so at the very least attend events, meet lawyers, take notes, and be loaded with dazzling contacts and insight when you do come to apply.