With my law degree now behind me, I am preparing to start the next stage of my legal career – the Legal Practice Course (LPC). Just as a law degree is an academic study of the law, the LPC is its practical counterpart. I will be learning all the practical skills and knowledge needed to prepare myself for the start of my training contract the following year. So, how have I been preparing for this next step?
Folders, folders and more folders (plus a few highlighters too!)
The biggest thing former LPC students have told me is that I am going to need a lot of folders. When I was sent my textbooks and workbooks for the first teaching block a couple of weeks ago, I understood why. Not great for the environment, it has to be said. The LPC course seems rather busy to put it lightly, so I have tried to get as organised as I can by sorting all the workbooks and chapter handouts into the relevant files now.
I’ve also got a smaller folder to put the work I need for that day in, so I don’t have to lug all the individual folders with me all the time. I have also bought some more highlighters and sticky tabs – much-needed resources for the LPC, I’m told!
By the third year of your degree, you’ll likely know the campus of your university well enough to not have to rely on maps. But the LPC will likely be at a different institution, so you’ll need to research how you are going to get to the campus. I’ll be commuting via train, so I have had to plan which tickets to buy and get familiar with the train times. No more can I rely on being a mere 10-minute walk from campus… early mornings, here I come.
Again, a new institution means new systems, and a new course means new ways of teaching and learning. You should hopefully have access to your new institution’s online systems before starting the course, so explore how they work and identify where to access key information. If you can already see assessment dates, copy them into your personal calendar (but make sure you check later in case any dates have changed!).
Finally, bookmark all relevant pages such as the library resources page, your student email account, your virtual learning pages and your timetable.
Your institution should have informed you of any pre-course work you are expected to undertake. They may do this directly (eg, via email) or indirectly (eg, via the online learning pages). So, make sure you thoroughly check these places, as you don’t want to be behind from the outset.
Personally, I have found completing the pre-course work daunting as it feels somewhat backwards to be completing such detailed work before even starting the course officially. But, the LPC is known to be a hard course, and the only way out is through. This is why I remind myself that each piece of work I manage to do now is a piece of work I (hopefully) won’t have to do later.
Find your coursemates
Of course, you will meet your coursemates once you start the LPC officially. But especially when there is pre-course work to be completed, it can be a big relief to have a few people in the same position as you if you have any issues. I have been lucky to find most of my future coursemates through social media.
If you have a training contract, other future trainees of your firm will likely be studying the LPC at the same institution as you, so it may be worth getting back in touch with the other successful vacation scheme students who received training contract offers alongside you, or finding such people through LinkedIn.
Good luck to all of those starting a new course this September!