My first week on the LPC at BPP Holborn smashed a lot of preconceptions that I had going into the course. My fear that I would be surrounded by Oxbridge graduates who ate statute books for breakfast and considered the proposed increases in University fees as ‘a good way to keep out the riff-raff’ was one of the first to die an early death. A cross-section of my friends on the course includes Warwick, Southampton, LSE and Sussex – so no one should be put off applying on the basis that they think Exeter isn’t good enough. We are.
Another preconception of mine was that people had some interest in what I thought. After having forgotten my Companies Handbook (an essential piece of LPC literature), I attempted a time honoured diversion technique of asking a ‘what if?’ question in a Business Law seminar. Cue the lecturer telling me, in no uncertain terms, that ‘the client won’t care about that. Just tell them what they want to know’.
Welcome to the business world. Much like a candidate on ‘The Apprentice’ who lists their career as investment banking after doing some work experience at their local Halifax, I had been found out. I could almost picture Lord Sugar’s silver haired sidekick Nick shaking his head in disbelief. Public chastisement and £6 pints aside (enjoy Arena while you can), what lessons have I learnt so far from the LPC?
Firstly, enjoy university. That’s not to say I am not enjoying the LPC or living in London, I am. My walk to lectures now takes me past St Paul’s Cathedral instead of The Lemmy and last week I went to the same club as Paije Richardson. I live in exciting times.
However, the LPC is business like. It curtails creative thinking and encourages ‘procedure plans’, basically ensuring that the way you approach your work is exactly the same as the last person, and the next person. It is safeguards such as these that make companies successful, but that doesn’t make it any more interesting.
Secondly, do not do the LPC if you do not want to be a solicitor. Sounds simple right? Essentially it’s like saying don’t do Medicine if you don’t want to be a Doctor. A Law degree can be applied to anything you want, the LPC is explicitly designed for being a solicitor. You practice interviewing clients, you learn which forms to fill in and you learn how to research properly.
Thirdly, if you’re not sure about doing the LPC right now, don’t do it right now! The average age of my course is 24/25. I am 21. I have rushed through uni to this point as quickly as is possible, and there really is no need. In fact, employers value experience and diversity. Want to do a Masters? Do a Masters! Want to do a year travelling? Do it! Then, once you’ve squeezed every drop out of the experience, if you think that being a solicitor is for you and you don’t just like the idea of a big office and a big car, come and do the LPC, because it is still the start of a great career.