Studying the Legal Practice Course is the last major academic piece in your jigsaw to becoming a trainee solicitor, so it is one you really want to make count.
Part-time and full-time study of the Legal Practice Course (LPC) are equally challenging and there is no escaping the volume of the work involved. The key to making the most out of your LPC is being prepared and there are lots of ways you can do this.
I completed my LPC at the University of Law, where the written exams are all open book. This made it somewhat easier however, I still needed to make sure I could decipher my notes and that I had a good grasp of the course.
On the first day of your LPC, you’ll go through inductions, talks with the Dean of your law school and various other teaching staff. You’ll need to fill out the paper work, have your photograph taken for your ID and most importantly, you’ll need to collect your books! Be prepared for this – it’s not a myth when they say you need a suitcase to take home your textbooks and materials!
What you’ll need
First things first, get all of your stationery! The essentials are:
- Ring binders/ lever arch files;
- Sticky tabs (plastic not paper – plastic is much more durable);
- A permanent marker to write on your sticky tabs;
- Notepads; and
- Lots of pens!
- Then, other essentials:
- A laptop: for research, typing up your work, and any online learning (which is an absolute must to help your learning);
- A good study space and comfy chair to sit in while studying at home;
- A good sturdy backpack to carry those heavy textbooks in;
- A leakproof water bottle to stay hydrated; and
- Plenty of snacks (my favourite are almonds) to get you through long workshops and study sessions.
Don’t forget you can get lots of the stationary items for free at law fairs (plus lots of essential careers advice!)
The most important factor which will help you to pass (and excel) on the LPC is being organised. I never appreciated how much I would need to keep on top of note making/ consolidation until I was at least two months in to my LPC. It certainly never works to consolidate a week before the exam! Writing up notes after the workshops and re-reading the materials is probably the best approach. That way, you can skim over the less relevant sections in the reading materials and focus your mind on those essential topics you covered in the workshop.
Although I wouldn’t advise making extensive notes before a workshop, you should always understand the content you will discuss and always do any preparatory tasks. If you go in to workshops without having done this, it will be difficult to follow the discussions.
Consolidation should involve going over exemplar answers, revisiting sections you didn’t understand and writing up revision notes. Make sure you write up your notes in a way that will work best for your revision method. For me, it was mind maps, lots of colours and short, bullet point-type sentences. One thing I found useful was to refer to pages in the text book where the topic was particularly complex or if the textbook dealt with it better than my notes could.
I always found the exemplars to be really useful. For subjects like dispute resolution and tax where you need to follow a particular format or formula, exemplars are brilliant. I incorporated them into my revision folders so I could easily refer to them in the exam and copy the formulas/ format where necessary.
It is also helpful to keep your revision notes separate to your workshop notes/ workshop guides. This avoids your folder becoming excessively full and makes it more manageable to revise. I found it useful to have one folder for workshop notes and a separate folder for my revision notes. This second folder was always my primary reference during exams, and this worked well because I could refer to my own condensed notes, which were easier to understand.
- Ask questions! Never struggle in silence, speak to other students and speak to your tutors. It is always really helpful to bounce ideas off other people and go over things more than once.
- Make friends, you’ll be able to bounce ideas between you, and study groups can be particularly helpful at getting information to sink in;
- Attend your lectures, workshops and groups (this also helps with the point above);
- If you can, get involved in societies and attend careers fairs;
- Have interests outside of law – don’t forget this can be a real CV booster too, and increases your social networks; and
- Study hard, but enjoy it too.
Good luck with your studies!
To gain further advice about studying and training to become a trainee solicitor, read Stephanie’s blog “My journey to becoming a trainee solicitor”
If you have any questions about Shoosmiths application process, or completing the GDL or LPC, you can email us at [email protected] or have a look at some frequently asked questions here.