LPC Providers – Who Is The Best?
This is a question which must pop into your head when thinking about taking the Legal Practice Course (LPC) . In the UK we really do have top course providers to give our future solicitors the training that they need.
But is one provider really better than the others?
We think the best LPC providers are the institutions which give graduates the best chance of obtaining a training contract at the end of the course. It’s as simple as that.
Here we will look at several elements which should help you decide which LPC provider to go for.
But in reality there really isn’t much between the top LPC providers; ultimately the choice of provider will come down to a) the choice of your law firm (if you have a training contract) and b) which course provider is located closest to you and c) price.
LPC course providers
If you want to do the LPC and want a list of all the institutions who provide the course then there is a list to be found here. Essentially the LPC course providers can be broken down into two groups – colleges of law and universities.
What makes an LPC provider the best?
So what defines the best LPC provider? Obviously the chances of obtaining a training contract after the course is very important. This is done through a good careers service at the college or university. They should help you with all steps of your training contract application. They could:
- Give you feedback on on your initial application
- Provide you with numerical / verbal reasoning tests
- Set up mock interviews
- Provide more information on the whole process
They may also have contacts at law firms which you could use for networking purposes. The hours per week of contact time with a tutor is another element which makes a good provider. You do need to do the majority of studying on your own but inevitably there are going to be legal areas which you don’t fully understand. An available tutor is essential in these situations. Quality of the teaching of modules is another important element to consider.
However it’s very hard to find out since the LPC institutions are no longer graded by an external body. Asking LPC graduates or attempting to get an impression from the open day is the only way to do this unfortunately.
In 2011 the College of Law and Kaplan Law provided statistics about their graduates who were in full time legal work.
84% of CoL graduates were in full time legal work. That figure is made up of 62% of graduates who have obtained training contracts and 22% who are in another position (such as a paralegal). Another 7% of graduates described themselves as employed.
Kaplan stated that 82% of its graduates had legal work. Of this 71% obtained training contracts and the remaining 11% were in other legal work.
These numbers shouldn’t be read into too much. Firstly because less than 2,000 graduates responded to the questions, and secondly because some of the graduates may already have had training contracts prior to starting the LPC.
BPP are currently collecting similar statistics.
LPC providers ranking
As you probably guessed, providing a league table for the Legal Practice Course providers is very hard, and probably impossible. You can’t think of it as the same as university rankings where you can compare two different universities easily. The institutions which provide the LPC all have been accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and will teach you all the practical knowledge you need to know.
The institutions who offer the LPC must:
- Offer fair and reliable assessment process
- Provide equal opporunities
- Continuously review the quality of the course
- Keep the learning experience appropriate and relevant
It could be argued that London, because that’s where the most successful firms are, is where the best teaching is. This will probably be true if you’re looking to join a firm in London but ultimately the “Best LPC Provider” is going to be very subjective. You should just do your LPC in the city you’re going to practice (if your law firm don’t state their preferential choice). Law firms like you to show regional links too. Saying “I did my LPC in [city]” will really help demonstrate this.
In reality we very much doubt that a firm would choose one candidate over another dependant upon which institution they did their LPC at. If you do it at Kaplan, the College of Law or a good university law school, you should be treated equally.
However don’t put too much emphasis onto the official university rankings either – remember these are primarily based on academic research. A mid ranked law school (for the LLB) could provide an outstanding LPC course.
So essentially the best provider is going to come down to your own subjective choice. That’s why it’s so important to go to a few open days.
When it comes to getting a training contract a more important factor will be the work experience you have and your CV. Have a look at our article on beneficial work experience.