The LPC is (currently) an essential component to starting a career as a solicitor as it offers students the opportunity to not only learn the law, but to apply it in real client-facing situations. Tayef, a paralegal in Shoosmiths’ banking team shares his experience of studying the LPC and using those skills in practice.
Tayef Siddique, paralegal
Why I studied the LLM LPC
Following my law degree, I decided to undertake the Legal Practice Course (LPC) which integrates the Masters of Laws (LLM) at BPP Law School full-time from September 2017. Keen to pursue a career in the legal industry, I decided to fund this myself.
The LPC integrated with the LLM costs the same amount as studying the LPC alone however, by choosing the LLM option, the LPC is converted into a Masters degree. The benefits of this are that additional funding is available from the government to help with course fees and obtaining masters-level legal research skills that can help you stand out in a competitive jobs market.
I understood and accepted the financial burden which the course would place on me, however I also recognised the fact that many entry level legal jobs (such as case handlers and paralegals) in top firms required the completion of the LPC and I therefore hoped to be at an advantage for such jobs by listing this achievement on my CV.
What you’ll learn on the LPC
The unique feature of the LPC is that it allows you to work on simulated situations resembling real cases and scenarios which you can expect to face in the workplace rather than
simply dealing with the abstract, or theoretical law you learn on the degree. Throughout my studies, I analysed fictional client instructions, reviewed the applicable law and applied the law to provide workable solutions to (imaginary) clients. This involved dealing with a range of legal situations, from assisting in a conveyancing transaction to advising an individual on obtaining bail.
Although the specific content of the course may slightly differ between universities, the general syllabus can be divided into three stages:
- core practice subjects;
- elective subjects; and
- skills courses.
The core subjects comprise Business Law and Practice, Property Law and Practice and Litigation (which includes Civil and Criminal Litigation). The core practice and elective subjects take you through all the stages involved in their respective fields (e.g. from incorporating a business to dealing with the insolvency of the business on the Business Law module) and teach you how to manage each stage as per the law and as per client standards. The skills courses cover how every solicitor should conduct their work and include drafting, advocating, researching and professional conduct. By studying the LLM LPC (rather than just the LPC), in addition to the above, I also benefited from two additional modules designed to further develop researching and practical skills: the Law Review and Reform module and the Negotiation and Case Analysis module.
How to apply LPC skills in the workplace
Following my LPC graduation, I secured positions as a litigation paralegal and a banking paralegal and I have therefore had the opportunity to apply skills from different parts of the LPC. The knowledge I gained from the Civil Litigation module was undoubtedly my biggest tool as a litigation paralegal as it mirrored my career in a litigation department. The LPC made me very familiar with the key requirements under the Civil Procedure Rules (the “CPR”) including timeframes, drafting court documents and handling the disclosure process and I therefore found it relatively straightforward to manage real court proceedings. When faced with a legal dilemma or conducting research, I often simply referred to my Litigation notes from the LPC rather than flicking through the CPR or spending long hours on LexisNexis to find the answers.
As a banking paralegal, although the Litigation modules are admittedly of very little use, the Business Law component and my elective courses, (Corporate Finance and Private Acquisitions), prove to be very valuable. Having dealt with large and complicated corporate transactions on the LPC, I am familiar with the legal terminology found in such dealings which would otherwise seem overwhelming. A major aspect of the Business Law module is to consider the priorities of each party to a transaction and this experience allows me to quickly grasp the objective of both borrowers and lenders and then tailor my drafting to the transaction.
As a legal advisor, you will undoubtedly be required to draft documents and correspondence of all kinds. This is where the drafting skills gained from the LPC come in handy; although firms have their house styles, it is helpful to have practised simplifying your legal advice and keep it professional. The Professional Conduct Regulation module provides essential guidelines on how every solicitor should conduct themselves and this knowledge will help every employee in all law firms manage their work within the confines of the law.
Changes to the LPC to the SQE
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”) has announced their decision to reform the route to qualification as a solicitor by introducing the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (“SQE”). The SRA has yet to finalise details on the SQE however, it is understood that the SQE will simply be a set of exams under two stages as opposed to the current format which involves classes and lectures followed by assessments. Students taking the SQE will still need to undergo the necessary legal training at a relevant institution and the content of the program is expected to remain relatively similar to the LPC.
Although the SRA is planning to introduce the SQE during Autumn 2021, it is uncertain when this new system will completely replace the LPC and both systems will run concurrently for a number of years as part of a transitional period. As such, the ability to apply skills from the LPC will still be important for the foreseeable future and will certainly be applicable under the new system.
To find out more information about the proposed changes to the legal education system, take a look at the SRA website
To read how you can also make the most of paralegal skills and experience, take a look at Natalie’s blog
If you are looking to get your career in law started, consider entry level roles such as assistant case handler, case handler, and paralegal, as well as roles which support the law firm, such as in the estates or HR teams.
You can find all of Shoosmiths’ current vacancies on our website here
If you have any questions you can email us at [email protected]
or have a look at some frequently asked questions here