I suspect this may be a fairly contentious view, so playing devils advocate, what exactly does the LPC do? Speaking from personal experience, I did my LPC by distance learning whilst studying for a training contract via the part time route. I have to say that being in practice I had a fairly good view of law in a practical setting, which a good number of my contemporaries also had. The LPC to us was simply a burning hoop to jump through in order to qualify. It almost seemed at times that the University were trying to get us through to qualify - allowing books into the examination, giving out specimen questions that were remarkably similar to the actual examination.
There is one university that combines the two courses (LLB and LPC) and this seems a good idea. However, the stark reality of the current solicitor profession is that there are two tiers to it - those solicitors in city legal jobs and commercial practices earning £50,000 to £60,000 at newly qualified level, and those at high street level lucky to be hitting £28,000-£30,000. If you are earning c£15k as a trainee solicitor for 2 years, followed by a few years on the above salary, paying off a £10,000 loan having completed the LPC is a considerable amount of money, and one that law graduates need to consider carefully before entering the profession. It is nice to be able to call yourself a solicitor, and to gain admission to the roll, but at the end of the day, I would rather find a sales post and earn more money for less hours than to end up thousands in debt, and with very few career prospects.
On the other side of the coin, the LPC weeds out those few who really are not very well suited to being a solicitor, and gives a balanced outlook of the role of a solicitor. I have to confess that I did use my LPC manuals when a trainee to get advice from, and so it probably has some use, apart from stinging every aspiring lawyer for thousands!
Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - no.1 online legal recruitment agency - save time, skip the legal job boards and let us do the work - register online at www.ten-percent.co.uk/register.htm