Legal Practice Course (LPC)
Find out about the LPC and eligibility to qualify as a solicitor through this route
What is the LPC?
The Legal Practice Course (LPC) is designed for applicants who are currently studying or have obtained their Qualifying Law Degrees (QLD/LLB) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) in the UK or for those who have been admitted as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (FILEx).
The LPC is not designed for students who have studied law degrees outside of the UK – unless the degree has been recognised by the UK QAA and has been awarded in collaboration with a UK institution such as the University of London.
Can I apply?
The LPC route will remain valid until 2032 for those who have already started their journey to qualification in 2021.
This means that you will be able to continue to qualify under the traditional route, providing that before 1 September 2021, you completed, started, accepted an offer of a place or paid a non-refundable deposit for:
- the Common Professional Examination (CPE) / Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) (which started on or before 31 December 2021)
- the Legal Practice Course
- a period of recognised training (also known as a training contract) or
- by 21 September 2021, you have completed, started or accepted an offer of a place or paid a non-refundable deposit for a qualifying law degree (QLD)/exempting law degree (ELD) that starts before 31 December 2021.
The universities you apply to will require evidence that you fall within the SRA's transitional arrangements as outlined above.
What do I need?
There are two stages to qualifying through the LPC:
Stage 1: Academic Stage - qualifying law degree (QLD) or law conversion course (CPE/GDL)
Stage 2: Vocational Stage - Legal Practice Course (LPC) and Period of Recognised Training (or Training Contract)
The final requirements include the Professional Skills Courses (PSC) and the SRA Assessment of Character and Suitability and once these have been ticked off then, congratulations, you're ready to be admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales!
To complete the academic component of your training, you must have either a qualifying law degree (QLD) or a GDL/law conversion:
Qualifying law degree (QLD)
A QLD is an undergraduate degree awarded by a UK university and validated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Its purpose is to allow candidates to proceed along the LPC pathway to qualification as a solicitor or as the academic stage in the qualification journey to become a barrister and so the degree itself must cover certain foundational areas of legal knowledge alongside other restrictions such as only allowing a certain number of re-sits. Not all law degrees are QLDs. Your university will be able to confirm details about the law degrees which they offer and whether these count as a QLD.
The SRA maintains a list of authorised qualifying law degree providers.
Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)
The GDL is a law conversion course for those applicants who have an undergraduate degree but it is not in law (or it is not a qualifying law degree awarded by a UK university). It is an intensive course built around the core curriculum and assessment requirements of a qualifying law degree. It aims to condense the knowledge and skills acquired in a graduate course which can bring non-law graduates up to the same standard as law graduates before they go onto the vocational stage of qualifying as a solicitor (i.e. the LPC) or as a barrister (i.e. Bar training courses).
The GDL course can also be extended in duration to satisfy the requirements of a MA.
To complete the vocational stage of your training, you must complete the Legal Practice Course followed by a period of recognised training, commonly referred to as a Training Contract:
Legal Practice Course (LPC)
The LPC is part of the vocational stage of training to be a solicitor - and it can be studied full or part time with an authorised LPC provider.
The aim of the LPC is to prepare students for work-based learning and to provide a general foundation for practice. Generally, it comprises a first stage that focuses on core practice areas and skills, and a second stage containing three vocational electives. Many providers also bundle their LPC into the postgraduate degree LLM. These courses tend to be longer in duration and involve a module requiring an independent research project.
Providers arrange their LPC in different ways and so you will need to check directly with each institution to confirm how they deliver their programme.
This is a 2 year period of recognised training which must be completed post-LPC; it is commonly referred to as the 'training contract'. Individuals are given supervised experience in legal practice in order to refine professional skills essential to practicing as a solicitor, including: advocacy, client care, drafting, commercial and financial awareness, and experience in specific areas of practice.