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As my Legal Practice Course (LPC) draws to a close, I thought now would be the perfect time to reflect back on my experience and consider what I wish I knew earlier. While the LPC is being wound down in favour of the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), many students will still sit the LPC this September. If this is you, I hope this helps! And of course, this is all from my personal experience, so remember that it may be very different for you.
The avalanche is coming…
Before starting the LPC, I had been told that the course wasn’t that hard in terms of substantive content, but that it was extremely hard in terms of how much content there is. This proved completely true, and it's down to the reason behind the LPC - to prepare you for legal practice. Real life isn’t like a problem question, nor is law in real life confined to a syllabus. The LPC does, by its nature, have to follow set content, but this content is generally very wide-reaching so as to prepare you as best as possible for your training contract. But it can, and does, feel extremely overwhelming. Especially when that first set of chapter notes arrives!
Consequently, it's more important than ever to try and stay on top of things, because you can get behind in a heartbeat. No, I never managed to write my revision notes as I went along (although I knew several people who did). But I did manage to complete the work set each week, and somewhat understand it. I took this as an achievement!
… but there is light at the end of the tunnel
The key thing to remember is that everyone is in the same boat, and that the course is only a year long. Moreover, it's split into three general sections:
My personal experience was that the core section of the course was the hardest, and it's made worse by the fact that - if you are part of a September intake - it takes place during the dark depths of winter and revision happens during Christmas (because what’s more festive than frantic revision?).
Comparatively, the time spent in the skills section of the course was a doddle, with far less contact time and the safety net of knowing you were only going to be marked on a pass/fail basis. The stress definitely picks up again during electives teaching, especially because it's only a relatively short period of time - but remember, at this point there is just one final push to complete the course. Freedom beckons!
Collaboration is key
Being practical-based, LPC classes revolve around activities for students to complete. Remember the pain felt in a breakout room where nobody speaks? That’s how every class will feel if you don’t break the ice early. I was in the same group for all of my core and skills classes, so I really would urge you to turn to your neighbours early on so that you can set a precedent of discussing activities as a table. Safety in numbers and all that!
Yes, the rumours about how many sticky tabs you need are true. I went through three packets! More broadly, I’d also say it is better worth your time to focus on the ‘learning outcomes’ listed at the start of each chapter handout and class, as well as on the solutions to class activities. More often than not, these solutions appear in your exams, so they are well worth spending some extra time on.
For all of those starting, or currently completing, the LPC - I wish you the best of luck. You’ll probably need it!
Find out more about the LPC and SQE with this Feature: 'LPC or SQE : which route should you take?'