Bridging the gap between academic study and qualifying as a solicitor, the Legal Practice Course (LPC) is a postgraduate qualification that will allow you to secure a training contract at a law firm. Throughout an LPC, you will have opportunities to transition your academic knowledge into practical skills for the legal field. Most Legal Practice Courses can be tailored to your chosen area of law, meaning that you are entering the workplace with a useful and applicable set of skills and knowledge.
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About the Legal Practice Course
The accreditation of an LPC is standardised across the UK, apart from in Scotland. To become a solicitor in Scotland, you have to take a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (DPLP). Although the LPC is technically a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice, the award you will gain is referred to and recognised as LPC.
In order to offer the LPC as a taught qualification, an institution must follow the guidelines set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), so each institution will be accredited by the SRA.
Generally, a Legal Practice Course will take 12 months to complete, when studied full-time. Some institutions may also offer part-time, online or accelerated study options. If you study part-time, this normally means that your LPC will take 2 years to complete. If you study an accelerated or fast-track option, this can take between 6 and 9 months to complete.
Postgraduate course annual tuition fees are set by the institution, which means that they can differ. Postgraduate programmes are generally less expensive than undergraduate programmes. You will find detailed fee information on the institution webpage.
If you have secured a training contract, your law firm may cover the fees for your LPC. If this is not the case, there are a number of other funding options.
The fees displayed below are an example of typical annual tuition fees for Legal Practice Courses. Actual tuition fees can be found on the institution webpages.
Typical Annual Tuition Fees
- Postgraduate - £13,000
The specific content of your Legal Practice Course will depend on where you choose to study. However, most LPC’s cover a standard set of topics, meaning that you gain a well-rounded skill set. An LPC is split into two separate stages, one covers the core practice areas and skills, and the other covers three vocational electives.
- Business Law and Practice
- Property Law
- Practice and Litigation (Civil and Criminal)
Stage Two (examples of modules, specific options may vary)
- Corporate Finance
- Immigration Law
- Media and Entertainment Law
- Acquisitions and Mergers
- Family Law
- Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury
- Employment Law
- Wills and Administration of Estates
It is important to note that if you have already secured a training contract, your law firm may dictate which modules you are able to study.
The entry requirements for an LPC are typically similar at most institutions. However, certain institutions may also have extra entry requirements. For entry directly onto the LPC, you will need to have completed an undergraduate degree in Law (LLB). If you have not completed a Law undergraduate degree, you will need to gain a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) before you can apply for the LPC.
You do not need to secure a training contract in order to apply for the LPC, but some people find that it is easier to do this before they commence their studies.
Typical Entry Requirements
- Degree Requirements - 2:1 or higher
- Required/Desired Subjects - Law (or a law conversion course)
An LPC will equip you with a range of skills, including analytical skills, the ability to write with brevity, communication skills and reasoning skills.
Some students will embark on an LPC with a training contract, but others may not. The opportunities for employment are high and the next step for most graduates is to secure a training contract with a law firm. This is the first real step in your career as a solicitor.
The aim for most students who take an LPC is to secure a training contact. You should be aware that an LPC does not expire, and you might find that you want to try your hand at something else first. This means that you can look into other career opportunities before settling as a solicitor, if this is something that interests you. Possible career options within legal professions include:
- Advice worker
- Trading standards officer
- Human resources officer
- Chartered accountant
- Company Secretary
If you do decide to pursue a career as a solicitor, there are opportunities at both local and national government level, while you could also work for a large organisation as part of their in-house team.