The LPC, which stands for the Legal Practice Course, is the course which any aspiring solicitor must complete before they can begin a training contract with a law firm. It’s a year long course if you pursue it full-time, although it can be extended over two years as a part-time course to fit round working hours or other commitments you may have. The Legal Practice Course is completed either after you have completed an LLB degree in Law (at University) or after you have completed an unrelated degree before taking the GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law). It is only when these stipulations have been fulfilled that you can enrol on the LPC.
There is also another prerequisite which is important to note, before you can begin the course, which is that you must also be a student member of the Law Society – a rule which was put in place by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA).
The LPC can be broadly categorised into four main parts: Core foundational subjects; compulsory subjects; optional subjects; and practical skills. The foundational subjects will cover the bread and butter of being a solicitor – personal conduct in the professional sphere, advocacy, how to correctly fill in documentation and administration, how to research properly, laws and principles of the EU, as well as honing your verbal and written skills.
The compulsory subjects of the LPC include ‘black letter’ law, procedures, practical skills and the regulatory guidelines of the profession. Compulsory subjects are usually covered in a rotational system, where three specific nuances will be focused on individually, for around ten or twelve weeks at a time.
LPC students are expected to complete at least two optional subjects, which cover more specific areas of law, but aren’t necessarily the basis for future specialisation. They’re completed in the last term of the course however, so it’s advisable to pick the subjects that match the areas of practice you’re applying to in order to get the most out of the LPC.
Finally, the practical skills element will cover the ins and outs of everyday life as a solicitor – interview techniques, drafting of contracts, and the art of negotiation, to name but a few. The LPC is an intense and demanding course, but sets you up for life as a solicitor and enables you to move on to the training contract stage of your legal career.