The LPC: will I have a life?
LPC graduate Sarah Green talks you through the work-life balance when studying for your final solicitor exam.
You could easily be fooled into thinking that the Legal Practice Course (LPC) will take up all of your waking hours; that you will be living, eating, sleeping and dreaming all that is law for the next ten months.
Well, I suppose that is the case to some extent, but plenty of people on my course found a good balance between work and socialising, managing to fly through with distinctions. True, it might not happen in every case, but for the good of your own sanity and, to some extent, your performance on the course, it really is important to have a little fun in your life too.
Learning time management and life balance
This doesn’t mean that every night can be a booze-fuelled, risk-filled trip to the casino. Sitting through double accounts and a three-hour Inheritance Tax workshop with at least three pints still sloshing around inside you and still smelling vaguely of stale sweat and kebabs is not good for you, or those around you. Weekday hangovers are only ok when you have a day off to bask in your own self-induced suffering.
Unless you’re hell-bent on just scraping a pass, you can’t expect to cruise through the year in the same carefree, hedonistic way in which you spend your undergraduate days. But, believe it or not, having a social life doesn’t have to involve copious amounts of alcohol (or at least save it for a Friday night, when you have two days to reap the consequences). You’ll find that Friday nights do in fact become sacred. A few pints with mates down the pub followed by a good curry: heaven in its simplest form.
Useful extracurricular activities
What you will find is that there are plenty of extracurricular activities to get involved in on your course: student-staff committees, ball planning, socials, pro bono work…the list is endless. All good things to participate in from a CV point of view, but also a good way of meeting more solicitors-to-be, extending your new network of friends and doing something to make a difference.
Some friends of mine, still without training contracts and desperate to add things to their CV, got involved in all of the above and did find it too much. Realistically, you can’t expect to cope with the demands of the course and get stuck into every single extra-curricular opportunity that comes your way. Pick one or two commitments and stick to them.
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Finding ways to relax during the LPC
A handful of my slightly more hardcore friends decided to vent their LPC frustrations in the form of exercise by running first 10k races and then half marathons. There were quite a few people that dedicated themselves to training for these events, and they found themselves more energised, enthused and focused on the course. I even began to think I was missing out…
Personally, I had time to sing in a choir and perform in concerts and to write my weekly blog. These were definitely the activities that kept me sane and focused throughout the LPC. I felt a little guilty that I wasn’t embracing the opportunities my institution threw my way, but I knew that I needed to keep up interests outside of the course, so that my life wasn’t completely dominated by law.
If you do have interests like music or sport, join local groups, as you will meet new people from a variety of backgrounds, who might have something more interesting to talk about than next week’s reading for business law.
So yes, you can have a life on the LPC. As long as you manage your workload and make time for socialising, you can still have plenty of fun.