Could you give us an overview as to how the LPC works?
The LPC is really important because you can’t go on to be a fully qualified solicitor unless you’ve completed one. It is graded in pass, commendation and distinction and enables you to have the skills to begin your training contract.
The core modules of the LPC (which you take in February) are property, business and litigation. With regards to business I would say it is definitely advantageous to have some business concepts in mind before you start and a grasp of the basics for how a company is set up and its structure.
During the year you undertake exams in a number of legal skills such as interviewing, advocacy, drafting and writing. The exam load of the first semester is pretty heavy and full on, so you have to make the most of any breaks you get, but thankfully the volume decreases significantly when you hit your elective term. I’m currently in my elective stage.
What’s an elective stage?
In addition to the core modules, Electives are an in-depth focus on specific aspects of law. When choosing your electives it is a good idea to know what area of law you want to specialise in. You’ll have to choose them quite early on in the first term so more of an idea you have, the better.
Commercial law is what I want to pursue, so I chose electives that lend themselves to the commercial legal sector: employment; commercial law and IP; and commercial litigation. There’s a variety of options to choose from, and a lot of help on hand too to ensure you’ll get a good combination of subjects.
Was there anything about your BPP LPC course that made you want to apply for that one in particular?
BPP’s career support, networking opportunities and links with firms I particularly wanted to apply for really prompted my decision to study with them. I found BPP has closed book examinations, which is something I personally prefer.
Are there any rumours you’d heard about the LPC before you started that have turned out to be either true or unfounded?
I had heard rumours about how time intensive the LPC was; and they were all completely true. I don’t think my feet have touched the ground since I started. Once you have got your head around the sheer volume of paper you have to tackle, the work itself is not that difficult. But definitely be prepared to put the hours in. It is cliché but true – you get out of it, what you put in.
What’s been the most surprising thing about the course so far?
Doing well on the LPC is not necessarily about being ‘book smart’; it is about adapting and being innovative with legal concepts to come up with a result, and really being able to think from your client’s perspective.
It is a completely different way of thinking compared how I was taught on my law degree, but I have found it to be more enjoyable. Essentially, a good dose of common sense takes you a long way.
What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of the LPC so far?
Having done an undergraduate law degree before the LPC, I’ve had to change the way I apply the law to a situation. During my degree, it was all about looking into and applying legal theory in depth.
In contrast, the LPC is it all about applying the law to a real-life situation and looking at it from a client’s perspective. It is not about coming up with an academically sound answer; you have to be innovative and find a way to meet your client’s objective.
What kind of support do you receive from BPP in your studies?
The tutors are always around should you need to talk to someone, or else if you drop them an email it’s easy to organise a personal meeting. They consistently check on your progress and are genuinely interested to provide advice in areas outside of the LPC too.
A big concern for LPC students is securing a training contract if they haven’t done so before beginning the course. What kind of support have you received in finding your training contract?
BPP has been excellent for putting on career and networking events with a wide variety of firms, so there really is something for everyone. It’s so important to make the most of every opportunity you are presented with, and from my perspective it really has been invaluable.
Being right in the centre of Birmingham, there is always usually something going on when we have finished for the day – whether it’s going for drinks or just a coffee. BPP has a social budget that is used for end of term and post-exam events for us.
Obviously there are certain times of the year that are busier than others, but generally most people have part-time jobs alongside studying for their LPC, play for sports teams and take part in other activities. It’s just about finding that right balance, really.
Could you give four ‘top tips’ for how to prepare for the LPC course?
- Preparation. Don’t forget key legal theories you studied at university or GDL level. Whilst you don’t need to call on them in such depth, a good overview is useful.
- Consolidate after each session. Exams come around really quickly, meaning you don’t have the luxury of a long revision period, and a lot of topics can be taught in isolation, so you’ll only touch on them once.
- Organisation. It’s essential! Once you fall behind it can be hard to catch up again, so don’t put the work off until the next day.
- Finally, on a practical level – on your first day take a very big bag. Until you see it with your own eyes you won’t believe the amount of paper and books you are expected to haul back!
Is the LPC your cup of tea? Click here to find out more about the LPC open evenings at BPP