Studying the LPC from a distancePepperells
My name is Emily Bailey and I am a Trainee Solicitor in the Family Team at Pepperells. Following the completion of my LLB Law Degree in Summer 2020, I graduated with a First-Class Honours from the University of Hull. The next step of my career commenced in September 2020 when I began studying the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at BPP University in Leeds. Due to the fees payable for studying the LPC, I applied for a scholarship with the University and was thrilled to be awarded a Career Commitment Scholarship with them, meaning that BPP would part contribute to my course fees.
I chose to study the course part-time over two years instead of full-time over a year, allowing me to work alongside. At the time I confirmed my course, I opted to study (and travel to Leeds) on weekends, allowing me to work weekdays. Due to Covid-19, I was then made aware that our first year would be spent completely online. This led me to change my mind, and I now partake in two sessions per week on a Monday and Wednesday evening. I could have studied it online on weekends, however I chose to keep my weekends free allowing me to undertake the prep work for my mid-week sessions, and this has worked well for me. It would not have been a viable option for me if I was studying in person as I couldn’t have travelled to Leeds after work on an evening.
I was incredibly excited that the LPC would consist of meeting other students from different areas of Yorkshire who undertake work in various areas of law. Despite BPP handling Covid-19 extremely well by reopening their sites to enable private study/revision space for their students (in accordance with Government Guidelines), we have not yet returned to face-to-face learning. This has resulted in classes being online using a ‘chat room’ style portal, taught by the module tutor. Studying from a distance has of course resulted in a lack of social interaction with other students, however the tutors have kept the classes as interactive as possible, dividing students into smaller ‘break out rooms’ allowing us to discuss answers, ideas and any issues between ourselves.
Despite not being able to compare my experience to studying in person, I am thoroughly enjoying the LPC from a distance. The time I would have spent travelling to and from Leeds on a weekend is saved and can be spent more effectively prepping for mid-week sessions. The modules have been the exact same and we have adapted to exams and assessments online too. For my Interviewing and Advising module, we completed our exam via Microsoft Teams, enacting a solicitor/client meeting by taking instructions and providing advice. Despite the circumstances, the assessment was kept under exam conditions and remained extremely professional, so it didn’t matter that we were not in person. I have now completed numerous exams online using a secure online portal (to ensure exam conditions are adhered to) and will be completing my last couple of assessments over the upcoming months. I feel as though studying the LPC from a distance has for me been incredibly beneficial and has proven to be an effective, successful way of learning during Covid-19, especially for those partaking in part-time or long-distance courses. I hope that current and future students continue to have this option in the future, allowing for flexibility and a more time/cost effective way of learning.
Studying the LPC in person
My name is Amy Wells and I am also a Trainee Solicitor within the Family Team at Pepperells Solicitors. I started my Legal Practice Course and Masters at the University of Law in Leeds in September 2019. I have been undertaking this course part-time on weekends over a period of two years and am due to complete this in July 2021. Studying the LPC part-time allowed me to work and carry out my Training Contact alongside my studies, gaining invaluable experience of working within a law firm and also assisting in funding the LPC. I would not have been able to fund the course fees for the LPC had I not been working alongside this course, therefore taking part in this course on a weekend allowed me to do this.
As I started my LPC in September 2019 I was able to carry out the first 6 months my course in person and I found that there were a number of both advantages and disadvantages to this.
The first advantage I found about attending in person is that you are able to meet other like-minded students who are in a similar stage in their career as you. It allows you to meet other individuals who may also be working in different law firms and can provide you with a number of opportunities.
Attending in person also allows you to work together as a group during the workshops and support each other to ensure you all understand the topic. It also provides more opportunities for one-to-one questions with the tutor should you not understand something. This is something I feel has lacked within the online classrooms as people are less likely to speak out should they remain unsure. In-person workshops, I found provides an effective social interaction with the other students. I have also found this to be much more difficult when working remotely as there isn’t the same opportunity to mingle and chat both before or during workshops. Although the University of Law has adapted well to working remotely following Covid-19, by also introducing interactive classes online similar to Emily’s experience at BBP, personally I have found breakout rooms to be far more formal and on occasions not as interactive as attending in person. I have found on some occasions students are less likely to interact and speak out when in larger groups online.
The second advantage I believe about attending in person is sitting exams. I have found it is much easier to sit an exam in formal exam conditions rather than have the distractions or possible difficulties of completing an exam remotely. It also removes the concern that you may come across IT difficulties during the exam causing additional stress to an already stressful situation. It is also a benefit being in Leeds to go out and celebrate afterward!
One disadvantage of taking part in the LPC in-person is the travel expenses and significant time it does take outside of already a long weekend at University. Nevertheless, it is often helpful to use this time to carry out any prep work that you may not have had a chance to complete during the week if you are working full time (every silver lining).
I believe that you can effectively take part in the LPC both in-person and remotely and therefore if you are still to decide how you may wish to undertake the LPC in September 2021, it may be a matter of preference.
We hope this blog gives you some insight into studying the LPC both in-person and remotely.