Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Friday, August 01, 2008

Should I spend thousands on going through the Legal Practice Course?

I received a request for help yesterday from a law student approaching his final exams and wanting to know whether he should commit to doing the legal practice course and spending the thousands of pounds on it and getting into lots of debt. He explained that he needed a commercial loan in order to do this.

The advice in such circumstances is very simple. If you know what it is that a solicitor does and have good work experience, expect a 2:1 degree and are fully committed to a career in law, then yes, you should spend the money to do the LPC even if you do not yet have a training contract lined up. A lot of people get their training contracts whilst they are doing the LPC and it is fairly common to finish doing the LPC and then get placed.

If you have no legal work experience, and are not entirely sure that you want to be a solicitor or have a predicted third class degree or low 2:2 with no hope of getting a 2:1, I would strongly advise you to think twice. Competition to get training contracts is intense. Competition amongst 2:2 and third class degrees is extremely intense. Competition amongst people with first class or high 2:1’s is not as tight at all.

If you think about it, the vast majority of training contracts go to students who have good work experience, a consistent academic background with good results throughout their careers to date. As a result, their competitive standard is a lot higher than somebody with a 2:2 or a third class degree with no work experience and poor academic records. The competition amongst these people is intense, because a lot of firms simply will not consider them.

So my advice really divides into the two, if you fall into the first camp of student then clearly, yes, you should be applying for the legal practice course and you should be looking for training contracts. If you fall into the second camp then I would advise against it and instead go out into the legal profession and get work experience as it is this work experience that is likely to result into you falling into a career path, whether this being as a trainee solicitor doing a part time study contract whilst doing a training contract or working as a legal executive or paralegal. You may even find that perhaps the law is not for you, as if you have struggled academically and do not really enjoy the law in practice you may want to consider an alternative career in any event.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment (www.ten-percent.co.uk). He regularly writes and commentates on the state of the legal profession. You can contact him at cv@ten-percent.co.uk

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