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Luke Deacon (he/him) studies the LPC MSc in Law, Business and Management at The University of Law’s (ULaw) Guildford campus.
When did you start the Legal Practice Course and how did you find the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate?
I started the Legal Practice Course (LPC) in September 2021 after completing the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). In terms of the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate, the LPC feels like a much more professional-orientated course. Compared to my undergraduate degree, I treat the LPC more like a job. That means managing my time efficiently, doing the necessary preparation for workshops, hitting deadlines – just like you’d do at work. As the course is quite full-on, it was a slightly bumpy transition at first, but after a few weeks I got into the swing of things!
How is the course structured?
There are four compulsory modules on the LPC:
You then also take three vocational elective modules – I chose M&A, banking and debt finance and public companies and equity finance. Because I’m doing the LPC MSc, I also have a separate elective module which is law and business.
The LPC MSc is a top-heavy course – you start with four skills workshops a week and then go down to three once you begin your electives. I am currently on campus twice a week for these workshops. They are all structured in a similar way and follow on nicely from each other. Plus, there are often recorded lectures for us to watch which break down some of the more tricky concepts.
As an example, the introduction to professional practice module covers a whole host of subjects. One week you could be doing professional skills, such as how to draft contractual clauses, and the next you’ll be moving onto learning the mechanics behind wills.
Currently, I’m really enjoying M&A, which takes you through the step-by-step process of acquiring a business. This is a field I am really interested in pursuing in my career and I really feel that the university is giving me the skills to make it a reality. It is exactly the kind of contract-focused, high-octane legal practice I can see myself doing!
Unsure how to choose between the LPC or SQE? Read ‘LPC or SQE: which route should you take?’
How do you find the teaching methods?
I really like the teaching methods at ULaw – they’re well-structured and considered. Each workshop starts with its outcomes so you can see exactly what your tutor is trying to get out of you. In terms of revising, it also makes it much easier to track back and work out exactly what you need to take away from each individual workshop. It’s very clear what is expected of you from the assessments too.
I also appreciate the fact that each tutor at ULaw is either a practising lawyer, or has practised law in the past, meaning that they can draw on their previous experiences. It makes the concepts we’re learning about so much more relevant when tutors can give you real examples based on the cases they’ve been involved with. It’s easier to understand and gives you an idea of what you’re ultimately working towards.
Discover more about ULaw’s teaching methods on the LPC.
How is the course developing your commercial thinking, critical thinking and professional skills?
The law and business module in the MSc has really helped to develop my commercial thinking and professional skills. Rather than focus on the law itself, we get to explore what makes a legal practice a business and how that fits into the greater sphere of the corporate world. It’s been very beneficial to my commercial awareness and I feel that it has better informed my applications to law firms.
Right now, I am writing a piece of coursework that analyses the rapidly growing use of technology and overall liberalisation within the legal sector. This has given me the opportunity to evaluate the industry as a whole. It has been so beneficial to have had the chance to develop my critical thinking in this way and further explore a topic of real interest to me.
What do you most enjoy about the LPC?
I’ve most relished developing my professional skills through the LPC, which is very different to the other university courses I’ve done so far. On the GDL I learnt the theory about law and classic legal cases that have set precedent. Having covered the academic side of the law, it’s now interesting to apply that knowledge on the LPC. You’re given real-life situations, similar to those you’ll be working on in the future in a law firm, and you have to work out how all those legal skills apply in practice.
Why do you like studying the LPC at ULaw?
The pro bono opportunities on offer at ULaw are a brilliant addition to your studies here. I’ve already been able to use skills that I’ve learnt on the LPC and advise actual clients. I recently volunteered at a real estate pro bono clinic and was advising a widow regarding the title on her house. She was really worried about her situation, and it was so rewarding to use what I had learnt on the LPC and advise her on what to do.
Interested in volunteering and pro bono? ULaw runs a varied and legal pro bono programme.
Do you have any study tips for the LPC?
Time management is the most important thing to learn, particularly at the start of the LPC. As most of the learning part of the course takes place in the first half of the year, you really need to be able to keep on top of your schedule. There’s a lot of information to consume in a short amount of time. Treating the course like a job will help you to develop those professional skills and be disciplined enough to schedule other commitments around the course.
What are your plans when you finish the LPC?
I’m currently applying for training contracts and paralegal positions and look forward to starting work soon. That, and a much-needed holiday!
Find out about studying the LPC at The University of Law.
Want to know more about studying the LPC and whether it's the right path to qualifying as a solicitor? Register for our upcoming webinar on 29 June: 'LPC v SQE: Helping you decide the best route for you'.