To become a successful solicitor, you'll need much more than classroom-taught theory. The LPC fills the gaps between academic knowledge and practical skills

The LPC is where you get down to the basics of how to conduct client meetings, complete watertight contracts, and much more.

One of the features of the course is its intensity and the volume of material that students must deal with.

The route to qualifying as a solicitor in Scotland is different to the UK. In Scotland the equivalent of the LPC is the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (DPLP), the one-year course is available at six Scottish universities. Find out more about qualifying as a solicitor in Scotland.

What does the LPC involve?

The course is broken into two free-standing stages:

Stage one covers the three essential practice areas:

  • business law and practice;
  • litigation, including civil and criminal; and
  • property law and practice.

Then there are the skills of:

  • advising and advocacy;
  • interviewing;
  • practical legal research;
  • writing and drafting.

In addition are the areas of:

  • professional conduct and regulation;
  • solicitors' accounts;
  • taxation; and
  • wills and administration of estates.

Stage two is made up of three vocational electives. This includes choices for those heading to City firms:

  • private acquisitions;
  • public companies; and
  • debt/banking.

There is also a whole range of choices relevant to small and medium-sized firms, such as commercial property, commercial law and employment, and family, immigration and welfare law.

To find a course in your area, search for Legal Practice Courses.

How do I apply?

Applications for full-time courses go through the Central Applications Board (CAB) starting on 1 October. Prospective part-time students apply directly to their chosen provider.

Different institutions may operate different admissions procedures and practices. The CAB strongly advises applicants to visit individual providers' websites for details of courses and admissions procedures.

Going through the CAB you can rank three choices of law school. There are no interviews, so success hinges on the application form.

How long does the LPC take?

The course takes around ten months to complete full time, but the electives can be taken over a longer period, either studied together or separately. Stage one must be studied with one course provider, but stage two may be studied with more than one authorised provider.

Is funding available?

Large firms of solicitors recruit two years ahead of training contract start dates and are well placed to offer successful candidates money for their LPC tuition fees.

Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs) are available from two banks - Barclays and The Co-operative - and are another way to pay for the LPC. You can borrow between £300 and £10,000 and this is repaid at the end of your studies.

Other options include:

For more opportunities, see funding postgraduate study and search for training contracts.

How much does the LPC cost?

Fees vary depending on where you choose to study and whether you take the course as a whole or as two separate stages.

For example, the University of Sheffield charges £10,495 for both stages and Cardiff University charges £10,500 for its LPC and this is split into £10,295 for tuition fees and £550 deposit and materials fee, which is payable before you start. If you wish to study the stages separately you need to contact the institution.

You also have to pay the Solicitors Regulation Authority's LPC registration fee of £120. This is not usually included in the course fees and will be collected by your institution when you enrol.

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