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If you’re a law graduate looking to gain practical skills and experience before starting a training contract, a Legal Practice Course (LPC) is the way to begin your legal career. Also known as a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice, these courses have a vocational focus, creating a link between academic study and legal work.
We’ve written a guide to what you need to know before applying for an LPC, helping you to work out whether completing one would be best for you. Our overview covers the essentials, such as entry requirements, course content and funding options.
The LPC combines lectures and practical workshops, giving you a well-rounded (and often intense) introduction to what day-to-day life as a solicitor involves.
You can expect to cover such skills as interviewing, advocacy and project management, with the course geared towards the practical application of these techniques.
You’ll also take three electives on specific legal areas, allowing you to concentrate on certain topics or broaden your horizons.
|Type||Taught / Professional|
|Qualification Level||7 (NQF)|
|Credits Value||120 CATS / 60 ECTS|
|Availability||England and Wales|
To be eligible for the Legal Practice Course, you need to have finished an undergraduate degree in Law (LLB), or to have converted an unrelated undergraduate degree with a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or a Common Professional Examination (CPE).
When picking an LPC, think about which electives you want to take, how much the course costs and what kind of institution you’d like to study at. Take a look at our course listings to browse and compare different LPC programs.
LPCs are awarded in England and Wales, although you can study a similar qualification in Scotland. The Scottish equivalent is the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, and follows the same principles as the LPC, looking to bridge academic study and professional legal practice.
The cost of an LPC differs greatly from place to place, so it’s worth doing your research to find a course that suits both your finances and your preferred career path. In 2017, the average cost of an LPC was £11,550, but there are cheaper and more expensive institutions. Find out more about the cost of a Masters.
An LPC is a big financial commitment, but there are a few options for funding:
The LPC is designed for people who want to become a solicitor and is a vital step on the path towards qualification. Whereas Master of Laws (LLM) degrees give you the opportunity to study a specific field of legal theory in depth, the LPC emphasises the importance of vocational and commercial skills.
Some institutions do allow you to combine an LPC with elements of the LLM, so this could be worth considering if you’re not sure which qualification is best for you. These courses typically follow a similar path as a straight LPC, while also involving a lengthy dissertation or research project.
An LPC is not a commitment to be taken lightly – both in terms of finances and workload – so there are a few things you should bear in mind before you apply:
LPCs are split into two parts, with the first section focussing on practical skills and the second section giving you the chance to choose three electives.
Some of the skills you’ll learn in the first part of the LPC could include:
Meanwhile, the optional electives in the second section of the course will cover a range of legal topics, differing from institution to institution. You can expect to choose from subjects as diverse as property law, private client and commercial litigation, and you’ll be able to pick the specific areas that you want to practice in.
Take a look at some of the different LPCs on offer.
Studying an LPC full-time generally takes ten months, including two teaching terms. If you opt to study part-time, the course will take two years.
The big national providers – BPP University and the University of Law – have the option of an accelerated LPC for candidates sponsored by certain law firms. Accelerated LPCs feature a more intense workload, as well as two different start dates (January/February and July/August, depending on the institution).
You could also look into a distance learning LPC, especially if you want to fit the course around work or other commitments. These online courses offer a more flexible way of studying, with the same high-quality teaching and feedback that you’d receive on a traditional LPC.
Last updated - 24/01/2019