5 Top Tips for Surviving Your First Weeks as a Part-Time LPC Student
The LPC is one of the biggest hurdles that law graduates will face. Studying full-time is a challenge that many of us will have overcome by this point, but studying part-time on top of a nine to five job is another challenge in itself.
Both my friends from university and other colleagues had warned me that the LPC would be a step up from the LLB, but I had not anticipated how much of a leap this would be: the LPC is intense to say the least. Although it isn't impossible, it is hard and will continue to present challenges that are neither planned for nor envisaged.
It is for this reason that I have chosen five top tips for helping all incoming LPC students to handle their new workload.
1. Rethink how you plan your time
This will no doubt be the hardest task for many students - planning additional preparatory work around university lectures is something that many have only just perfected/adapted to. Now, planning heavy reading, intense preparation, and consolidation all around a nine to five job requires a complete retraining of your brain.
Many have suggested creating a timetable of spare time. Whilst this might seem completely unnecessary to most of us, it can be a major help for those struggling to balance university work alongside professional work.
If you’re someone who may need a timetable then there are plenty of templates around to help you. Failing this, an Excel spread sheet works just fine. My personal favourite printable templates can be found here
2. Preparation, preparation, preparation
Unlike during the LLB, preparation for the LPC cannot be a half effort. Preparation is no longer solely necessary for consolidating lectures - on the part-time course it is essential for teaching the course foundations. The reading is not something that can be completed on the train in: it requires your full attention and dedication in order to understand the materials that you are reading.
Likewise, the questions are not to be undertaken half-heartedly. The answers to these should be written in full and should include a great amount of detail. Most part-time students will already have had experience in a legal environment, meaning that they may already have the ability to draft (or even write) letters of advice. This should certainly not dishearten those students who are not in practice, as these are skill that can be easily learnt. Instead, it simply means that those students not in practice may need to work somewhat harder until such skills are gained.
This is by far one of the most crucial parts of the LPC. After all lectures and workshops, make sure to complete any consolidation exercises. These exercises aren’t there for fun, that’s for sure, but they do test your understanding and can reveal any previously unnoticed gaps in your knowledge. Consolidation is one of the most commonly skipped exercises but it is also the one that will keep you ahead of the game.
4. Reflect and apply
This may be more applicable to those students who are in practice whilst studying, but it important for all students to reflect and apply their learnings nonetheless.
Ensure that you reflect on what you have learnt, as well as considering its place in commercial settings and in practice in general. Then, if you are lucky enough to be in practice or have had experience in practice, apply your newfound knowledge to your daily life. Whilst you may not be working in commercial law, any law surrounding business will apply to all aspects of your day-to-day life.
5. Take some time for yourself
This final tip is by far the most important. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself! How can you expect your work to reflect you as a person when you aren’t taking care of yourself? The answer: it can’t.
Those students who are in full-time employment will need to focus on little acts of self-kindness before all of the preparation, consolidation and application of the teaching comes into play. After all, how can you present your knowledge of the course when you are surviving on nothing but coffee and a lack fresh air?
All of these tips may seem easier said than done, but with a nudge in the right direction, we can all better our experiences of the LPC and become the best that we can hope to be! Hopefully these five pointers will improve not only the quality of the work we submit, but also the experiences that you have on your road to becoming a solicitor. The next few months will be particularly challenging as you adjust to your new adventure, but planning and preparing to the best of your ability will help to ease the stress. Good luck!
By Jennie Coleman