Legal Practice Course

The Legal Practice Course (LPC)  also known as the Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice  is the final vocational stage for becoming a solicitor in England and Wales. The course is designed to provide a bridge between academic study and training in a law firm. It is a one-year, full-time (or two-year, part-time) course, and tuition fees range from £8,000-£14,550 a year. A small proportion of students may have their fees and some living expenses paid for by future employers under a training contract.

The course is usually taken after a law degree, but a large minority take the course after studying a different subject at university and taking a conversion course called the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL/CPE). The LPC is regulated through the Law Society of England and Wales and replaced the Law Society’s Final Examination (LSF) in 1993.[1] Like the GDL/CPE, the LPC can be applied to through the Central Applications Board.

The LPC is also offered to LLB graduates at some Australian universities, as an alternative to an articled clerkship.

In Scotland, the equivalent is the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice.

Course content

The course content can be broadly classified into three phases of learning. These are (a) "Core" compulsory modules, (b) "Elective" modules and (c) practical skills. Skills comprise advocacy, interviewing and advising, writing, drafting and research, solicitors' accounts, wills and administration and taxation.

Generally taught in the first (and longest) part of the course, the compulsory modules are generally Criminal Litigation, Business Law and Practice, Property Law and Practice, and Civil litigation. In the shorter second part of the course, students select their "Elective" modules from a list chosen by the providing institution.

Topics vary from institution to institution, but those widely available include advanced courses in the compulsory modules, along with: personal injury, family law, employment law, housing law, immigration law, probate and private client, commercial law, welfare law and commercial property law. Some topics recur throughout the teaching of all course topics and can come up in all examinations. These include: professional conduct, restricted activities under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, business accounts and taxation.

Eligibility and length

Different institutions require different grades before accepting candidates onto their course. Institutions will often interview students with third class degrees before accepting them while only some will interview before accepting a candidate with a lower second. The course generally lasts nine months and has substantially less holiday than an undergraduate course. Emphasis is placed on class room teaching alongside independent study.

Prestige of different institutions

LPC providers are rigorously inspected by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, commonly referred to as the SRA with the intention of maintaining high standards throughout the sector. Some providers are notably more expensive than others[2] and will often be able to spend more money on both staff and facilities.

University providers (on average considered to be the less expensive providers) generally allow their students access to university libraries, IT resources as well as societies, fitness facilities and the student union.

Pass rates

In 2005, a total of 6,554 people passed the LPC, an overall rate of 84%, representing a 3% rise from the previous year. It is possible to sit all LPC exams three times before failing the course. It is necessary to pass all subjects.

9,337 students enrolled on the LPC in 2008/09. Quite a few deferred their exams or dropped out altogether, leaving 7,759 to take the exam; 5,824 of those passed the exams that year (75% of those who entered), just over the number of training contracts on offer (5,809).[3] It should also be noted that training contracts with big firms tend to start recruitment 2 years in advance i.e. 2 years before completion of the LPC.


The Law Society has a bursary scheme, this is available for some candidates who have already taken the LPC. Upon securing and commencing a training contract the recipient individual gets their fees paid through Law Society funds.

It is not uncommon for law firms to provide sponsorship to LPC students[4] as part of a job offer. Generally sponsorship is only offered by wealthy commercial practices, although a limited number of legal aid sponsorship packages (funded by the Law Society of England and Wales) do exist.

Banks do offer preferential bank loans to post-graduate students in employment. This is an expensive option with loans of up to £25,000 being available. Alternatively, information on professional career development loans run by the National Careers Service[5] can be found on the National Careers Service website,[6] or in Job Centres.

Negative criticism

List of course providers

See also


  1. The Independent Newspaper, 21 August 1992 Retrieved on 12 September 2015.
  2. UK Law Schools: fee comparison table
  3. The Job Market: Solicitors | The Art of Law
  4. LPC Sponsorship Retrieved on 14 April 2013.
  5. Professional Career Development loan on Retrieved on 14 April 2013.
  6. Professional Career Development loan on National Career Development Loan Retrieved on 14 April 2013.
  7. Archived 11 April 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. Archived 22 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. Oops, Looks like we found a bad link | Brennan Center for Justice
  11. Trends affecting the legal recruitment market
  12. Young Legal Aid Lawyers
  13. Anglia Ruskin University
  14. Birmingham City University Archived 13 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. Bournemouth University
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 BPP Law School
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Report on BPP Law School
  18. Bristol Law School at UWE
  19. Cardiff Law School
  20. Central Law Training
  21. City Law School
  22. Derby, School of Law and Criminology
  23. De Montfort University
  24. Inns of Court School of Law
  25. Kaplan Law School
  26. Leeds Beckett University
  27. Liverpool John Moores University
  28. London Metropolitan University
  29. Manchester Metropolitan University
  30. Northumbria University
  31. Nottingham Law School
  32. Oxford Institute of Legal Practice
  33. Southampton Solent University
  34. Staffordshire University
  35. Swansea University
  36. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 The College of Law
  37. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Report on College of Law
  38. University of Central Lancashire
  39. University of Exeter
  40. University of Glamorgan Archived 30 July 2007 at WebCite
  41. University of Hertfordshire
  42. University of Huddersfield
  43. University of Plymouth
  44. University of Sheffield
  45. University of West London
  46. University of Westminster
  47. University of Wolverhampton

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