How to succeed on the Legal Practice Course
So you want to be a solicitor and the next step is the Legal Practice Course. This website and guide should help you on your way to success in the LPC. The legal practice course is a big commitment – financially, time wise and emotionally. As such you need to give yourself every chance of success.
- Decide your career goals as a solicitor – do you want to be a high street, commercial lawyer or some other specialisation? Do you want to practice in a big city firm or the regions? Of course you can change your mind later but start to have some ideas now.
- Choose the right LPC provider – Based on your goals you can then start looking at which is the best LPC provider for you. Check out our LPC Provider directory and reviews which are the most comprehensive around.
- Getting a training contract – This is essential and you should be working on this from the moment you first decide to do the legal practice course. If you don’t have a training contract you can’t become a solicitor. Competition is very fierce so don’t leave it until after you complete the LPC.
- Succeeding on the legal practice course – the LPC is tough and hard work. You have a lot to cover so it is important to be organised and have comprehensive notes. An up to date revision guide such as the Legal Practice Companion can really help you get a good overview and clear understanding of the law as well as being invaluable as a revision aid.
- Getting a distinction on the LPC – This is something we recommend you aim for. If you already have a training contract it will impress your future employers, if you don’t have one it can be the deciding factor in helping you get interviews and stand out from the crowd. Check out this video for more inspiration: How to get a distinction on the LPC.
Below is a beginners guide to the Legal Practice Course which will give an overview of the key facts you need to know:
Introduction to the LPC
The Legal Practice Course or LPC is an essential step along the road to becoming a solicitor. The LPC is designed to help you make the transition from student or graduate to practicing solicitor by giving you a thorough grounding in the practical skills and knowledge required in the legal profession.
Everyone who wants to be a qualified solicitor in England and Wales has to successfully complete the legal practice course. There is no escaping it!
The standards and content of the LPC are set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) but law schools may differ in their teaching approach.
Legal Practice Course Key Facts
- Everyone who wants to be a solicitor in England and Wales has to pass
- The full time course lasts 9 months – 1 year
- Fees range from £6,000-£12,500
- Fees are often paid by firms when you start your training contract
- Pass rates vary between 75% and 85%
- There are 40 legal practice course providers to choose from
- Applications are controlled by the Central Applications Board
- You need to apply in the Autumn of your final degree year or as soon as you start your conversion course
- After completing the LPC you need to undertake a training contract with a firm in order to become a fully qualified solicitor
What you need to do before starting the LPC
Before starting the Legal Practice Course you will need to complete your academic training which could include a law degree or a law conversion course.
You also need to ensure you have a solid foundation in the law as the LPC will be very fast paced and you’ll need to keep up. Bear in mind that some areas of law that you are required to understand on entry may not have been covered in your academic training.
Another formality is applying for student membership of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. They will also provide you with written confirmation that you have completed the academic stage of training. You can then apply for both a legal practice course and a training contract.
The structure of the Legal Practice Course (LPC)
Core areas of the LPC
The core areas of the legal practice course make up the foundation and you’ll probably find that your college covers them early on in the course. They include:
- Professional conduct and ethics
- Skills including research, drafting, advising etc.
- Taxation including trusts and tax planning
- European law
- Probate and administration of estates
Pervasive areas of the LPC
These areas integrate with all aspects of the legal practice course and so also form part of the foundation. You will need to gain a good understanding of these as they can come up in any of the legal practice course examinations. They include:
- Accounts (solicitors’ accounts and business accounts)
- Professional conduct and client care (including financial services)
- European Union law
- Human rights
- Revenue law
Compulsory areas of the LPC include:
- Business law and practice
- Property law and practice
- Litigation and advocacy
Elective areas of the LPC
You will be able to choose which vocational areas you wish to specialise in such as employment law, personal injury, family law and one of our favourites – banking (check out the book Banking and Capital Markets Companion). But be warned your choice of electives may be guided by your firm or influence your chances of getting a training contract.
Development of skills on the LPC
The big difference between the Legal Practice Course and a law degree is the LPC’s practical nature. Therefore the skills element of training to be a solicitor is vital. The practical skills areas of the LPC include:
- Interviewing and advising
- Writing, drafting and research
- Accounting, taxation, trusts and tax planning
For more details of the course content contact your short list of LPC providers. We also recommend this useful PDF guide published by the SRA: The Legal Practice Course (LPC): what you are expected to know before you start.
Alternative methods of study for the legal practice course
You don’t have to sit the whole of the LPC in one go or even with the same college. It can now be divided into Stage 1 which you take with a single provider and Stage 2 which can be split between different providers.
This means you can take a study break to help you with financing or give you more time to find work experience and a training contract. However, most firms still prefer to recruit before applicants start the LPC.
A further way to take the Legal Practice Course is through distance learning but you will need to check which LPC providers have this option. There are of course some advantages to this, but many find this quite a difficult route for what is already a very demanding course.
Life after the LPC
After completing your academic training and successfully running the gauntlet of the Legal Practice Course you still have a few more steps to go before becoming a fully qualified solicitor. The first (and sometimes the most challenging part of the whole process) is gaining a training contract. If you are lucky you may have this before you even start the LPC or will be able to apply succesfully during the course. If you are unlucky you will need to apply after you graduate, but you should be aware that you will still be competing with thousands of other newly qualified LPC graduates.
The final stage is passing the Professional Skills Course (PSC). This will normally be part of your training contract and includes a mixture of face to face tuition and practical work experience.
How to bring all areas of the Legal Practice Course together?
Once you start the Legal Practice Course you are in for a roller coaster of a ride. It’ll be the busiest and fastest year of your life to date so you’ll need to learn how to keep up with so many interrelating subjects and diverse areas of the law quickly if you want to gain a good grade in the LPC.
Well, the secret resource of over 48,000 Legal Practice Course students is the Legal Practice Companion. Many discover the usefulness of this guide in the last minute panic of revision. However, if you use the Legal Practice Companion right from the start of your legal practice course we are sure you’ll find it an indispensable aid not only in gaining a distinction, but also as a trusty friend in your first few nervy months of your training contract after the LPC.
Other LPC Resources
The Legal Practice Companion: The essential resource for all LPC students who want to perform well. Highly recommended by students and academic reviewers!
LPC Providers: A comprehensive list of LPC Law Schools so you can choose the one that’s best for you.