The LPC: worth the investment?
There is no doubt that the LPC is hard work. As the mandatory vocational course which you will need to complete before you can start a training contract, it’s going to take a lot of dedication. But is it really worth spending all that money?
Those who haven’t been lucky enough to gain sponsorship from a law firm for their LPC and face footing the course fees bill themselves will have that extra concern of whether they are going to be able to secure their training contract to make the investment worthwhile.
No guarantee of a training contract
Some people do successfully finish the LPC and, providing they have a CV embellished with fantastic legal work experience, stand a decent chance of getting a training contract if they haven’t already secured one during the course.
Remember, though: there are A LOT of people looking for training contracts. And some people do struggle with the course content. If you haven’t had a training contract offer by the end of the year and you also end up having to battle through resits (which you will also have to pay for), then it is going to be very tricky indeed to finally get that all-important trainee place with a firm. It’s not impossible, and you do hear of people who manage it, but in this climate, with such exceptional competition within the legal sector, it has to be in the forefront of your mind when you are considering whether the LPC is worth it.
Alternatives to the LPC
If you have concerns about how you may fare on the course, then you may find it helpful to check out the alternative careers in law. It is all too often presumed that after a law degree a student will then automatically go on to complete the LPC. But there ARE other routes. I have friends working as very well-paid paralegals and legal executives in large law firms. They are content with their workload, the responsibility they yield and the firm they are working for. And doubly content, no doubt, that they didn’t spent a small fortune on a year-long course.
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What about the course content of the LPC?
Some skills taught as part of the LPC syllabus will not be unfamiliar to those who already working in an office, such as how to write a business letter. However there are other elements that are essential to the role of a solicitor which are also highly valuable in roles outside of the legal sector. Interviewing modules, for example, will teach you how to conduct yourself with clients and to extract information.
I found the advocacy parts of the course to be particularly useful. Having done the GDL, rather than a law degree, I hadn’t had much advocacy experience, so I really benefited from this area of the course. Solicitors’ accounts were, again, something new.
All in all, the LPC is an essential step on the way to becoming a solicitor. Though you may not use all areas and skills you cover on the course in the future, a law firm will require you to earn your legal stripes via this specified route. If you manage to secure your training contract, the LPC will have been worth more than its weight in tuition fees and long study nights.