This post is for anyone who has just begun, or will be beginning their Legal Practice Course (LPC) in the coming months. It’s a handy summary of all the little do’s and don’ts I’ve noted in my first few weeks, which will hopefully help you get/feel ahead and on top of things in your first month.
Starting any new course, job or venture is always a little daunting – and the LPC is no exception. At the time of writing this, I am at the end of week three of teaching – and really only just settling into a routine and getting to know my classmates. Depending where, when and how you study the LPC you may have a very different experience to me. You may be in a class with your trainee cohort or with a group of twenty strangers, you may be cramming all the content into six months or studying part-time, you may be applying for training contracts on top of studying the course or have a job offer in your back-pocket, you may not get the choice of optional modules or may have free rein…
However you are studying, allow yourself some time to find your feet and take a look at the following do’s and don’ts which might just help manage your expectations, your workload, your sanity and your wellbeing!
- Do raid Rymans (remember your student discount – other reputable stationers are available…) before the course begins and restock your stationery – you’ll need all the tabbing, filing and highlighting systems you can think of to get through the course
- Do bring a suitcase on the first day to transport your course materials – the amount given isn’t to be underestimated…
- Don’t try and take the lift – allow for a few extra minutes and take the stairs – 1000 students all trying to cram into a few lifts doesn’t take a mathematician to work out the odds of getting to class on time!
- Do go to the toilet before class and come armed with snacks + drinks – you don’t want to miss anything in your Small Group Sessions (SGSs) and you don’t get a break halfway through the two hour slots
- Do try and get your head around all the acronyms – BLP, PLP, SGS, etc…
- Don’t forget your statute books
- Do the work before you attend the SGSs – the LPC isn’t like an undergrad degree – you will get called on by tutors who expect you to know the answers and will need to apply the pre-work in the sessions
- Do make a WhatsApp group with your classmates and get some pub and study sessions in the works
- Do bone up on the annotation guidelines for any permitted materials – this will help you come exam time, and means you won’t have to repurchase any books you’ve accidentally scrawled on
- Don’t expect the admin to work like a dream or be quick at getting back to you – they are often inundated in the first few weeks, so factor a delay into any enquiries (e.g. verifying your student Oyster card, generating council tax exemption letter)
- Do make a schedule – this year, I have become that person who has a colour-coded spreadsheet to ensure I keep on top of work and still get my evenings and weekends off (yes, it is possible) [you can read some top tips on how to avoid procrastination here]
- Don’t forget that this is all about getting you ready for real life practice – all the content is aimed at legal practice (the clue is in the course name…) and so employing common sense and commercial awareness is invaluable [you can read my take on common sense and commercial awareness here]
- Do ask questions if you don’t understand – the classes move quickly and tutors will expect you to say if you need clarification [if you’re really struggling click here for a set of coping strategies for when life gets on top of you]
- Don’t be afraid to say you don’t understand, or had a different answer to the one given
- Do go to Early Bird Registration if you can
- Do invest in a backpack for all that heavy lugging
- Do remember that the LPC is a Masters level course – so it’s a step-up from an undergraduate degree and there may be a period of adjustment if you haven’t completed a Masters
- Don’t cry over the amount of trees killed for all the paperwork during the course – you’ll be constantly upset (I’m still working on this one)
- Do make a careful note of where your locker is – there are banks and banks of them, and they are so handy for storing your tomes (or your snacks)
- Do explore the Pro Bono opportunities available and the societies too
So there you have it, a short flurry of do’s and dont’s that might help you at the beginning of your LPC. Good luck and happy studying!
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