You’re a soon-to-be law graduate and having done your research on what steps you should be taking in your legal career (*cough* on great careers advice websites like AllAboutLaw.co.uk *cough*) you know that coming up next is the Legal Practice Course (LPC). If you’ve read our article on what the LPC is, you’d know that it’s mandatory for those who wish to become a solicitor and will take up one year of your time if you study full-time, or two years if you study part-time. You can only start a training contract once you’ve passed the LPC.
Just when you thought you’d left the UCASes of the world behind, you’ll have to get back into the swing of ordering millions of prospectuses and choosing a provider. Some of you may have already landed a training contract, with your firm instructing you which provider to choose. This is handy as it saves you time and could save you money as the firm could cough up the costs of the LPC too!
If you haven’t got a contract, it may be useful to check where firms send their trainees. This will allow you to mould yourself into an ideal trainee. However, if you haven’t got a training contract secured, there are fees to consider, unfortunately. With a minimum cost of around £10,000, choosing to study the LPC is not a decision to be taken lightly. Remember, there’s no guarantee of securing a contract.
Having said that, there are numerous ways to cover the costs of an LPC. Although student loans now exist for postgraduate study, the LPC counts as a diploma and so is not eligible. You could look into scholarships or get yourself a career development loan.
LPC application process
Before you can apply for an LPC, you need to register with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and let them know your personal details and what route you took through education. Then, like your undergraduate degree, you don’t apply to universities directly when applying for the LPC. There’s a neat little tool called LawCabs that everyone has to use. Once you’ve filled out all your personal details and other admin-y stuff such as listing your qualifications and employment history, you can choose up to three LPC course providers.
LPC personal statement
Then comes the juicy bit. You need to provide a personal statement of up to 10,000 characters explaining why you chose your first choice of institution. You should also include information on why you’re applying for the course, what interests and motivates you and your career goals. There’s also room to talk about skills, achievements, hobbies and work experience. As you did with your undergraduate personal statement, clearly refer to the course in some way.
After the personal statement, you’ll be asked for details about how you’re planning to pay for your course, details of your references and a declaration to confirm you haven’t told any porky pies.
LPC application tips
We’re sure you don’t need help filling out your personal details, but when it comes to the personal statement, you wouldn’t turn down a bit of advice here and there.
As with your UCAS application, we recommend you don’t just bash out 10,000 characters in the online application form. Copy and paste it from Word document, allowing you to do all the necessary spelling and grammar checks. With regard to what to include in the personal statement, here’s a handy bullet point list:
- Why you are applying for the LPC
- What interests you about the course
- What motivates you
- Where you see your future career heading
- Your skills, achievements and hobbies
- Your work experience.
As you’re limited on characters, don’t include absolutely every hobby you’ve ever had throughout your life and understandably, some areas deserve a bit more TLC than others, such as why you’re applying and what interests you about the course. You should also merge your ideas together rather than writing your personal statement as a list.
It’s worth talking about why you want to become a solicitor rather than barrister and which areas of law you’re keen to practice in. Your achievements don’t have to be your 100% attendance certificate from year 7 either, you can mention how getting a first in your undergraduate degree was a great success, given how hard you worked. Including hobbies tells the institution a little bit more about yourself. “I like to listen to music” isn’t likely to add any weight to your application but mentioning that you’re part of a band and what this has taught you in terms of teamwork, commitment, organisation and patience.
LPC applications are necessary for any soon-to-be solicitor but they’re not something to be feared. Rather, you should see them as a way to showcase your skills and desire for a career in law.