Dec 09, 2021

Written By Natasha Jones

Can you do your training contract & LPC at the same time?

Dec 09, 2021

Written By Natasha Jones

Most aspiring solicitors will have heard about the Legal Practice Course – the LPC – and the words “training contract” will be enough to cause a small pang of dread. But how much do you really know about the process of becoming a solicitor? Read on to find out more about the LPC and the training contract.  

The new route 

It’s important to note that the route to qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales has changed. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) introduced a new qualification system, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), in September 2021. 

This means that studying the LPC and obtaining a training contract are no longer relevant unless you accepted an offer of a place on a qualifying law degree by 21 September 2021, or on the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) by 1 September 2021.

If you will be part of the new SQE cohort, visit our dedicated SQE course page to find out more about this new route to qualifying as a solicitor.

 

Advertisement

‘LPC’ & ‘training contract’ explained

If you’re still reading then it’s likely that you’re part of the transitional cohort already on the old path to qualifying as a solicitor. This means that you can choose whether to qualify under the traditional route or the new, SQE route.

Under the traditional route, aspiring solicitors must:

Have a qualifying law degree (QLD) or GDL

Pass the LPC

Undertake a training contract

Pass the Professional Skills Course (PSC)

Meet the SRA’s character and suitability requirements

Note, however, that the SRA does accept applications for Equivalent Means, and may grant full or partial exemptions from the above requirements.

For the most part though, passing the LPC and obtaining a training contract are necessary requirements to become a solicitor. They are both part of the vocational stage of training, coming after the academic stage: completing a QLD or the GDL.

Although, in reality, most large law firms require trainees to have completed the LPC before starting their training contract, it is possible to do your training contract while you complete the LPC.

 

How would this work in practice?

According to the SRA’s requirements, a training contract can either last two years on a full-time basis or equivalent. On a two-year contract, a trainee would be expected to work full-time five days per week, while if a trainee were to work only three days a week, the training contract would last three years and four months.

This means that an individual completing a training contract part-time whilst studying for the LPC, would have to undertake a longer training contract than the standard.

In fact, the SRA’s requirements for training contracts are far less rigid than most people realise. For example, trainees can even complete their training contract alongside a QLD or the GDL. In practice though, it might be difficult to find a law firm that would offer you a training contract without having completed the academic stage of legal training.

Law firms can recognise previous work-based experience as satisfying up to six months of a training contract. At some firms, therefore, trainees who have significant paralegal experience are allowed to complete three seats instead of the standard four-seat training contract.

 

Balancing a part-time training contract with studying

It’s no secret that the LPC is a demanding course, with students often finding the sheer volume of work a challenge. Combined with the responsibility of undertaking a training contract,  juggling the two could be a a difficult feat.

If the option presents itself to do the LPC and a training contract at the same time, you should take time to consider whether your employer is sufficiently supportive and willing to be flexible with study leave.

 

Advertisement

Training Contract