There are a number of routes to qualify to practise as a solicitor. The majority of people take the full-time path after leaving university, which involves spending just under a year in full-time study (the Legal Practice Course or LPC) followed by a two-year full-time period of training. There are plenty of reasons why the traditional route might not be right for some. The financial considerations of not working for a year to study full-time or caring responsibilities for example, may deter people from the traditional full-time route.
The greater freedom being afforded to law firms and aspiring solicitors on how they fulfil their qualification requirements has opened up new possibilities on the routes to qualify as a solicitor. One lesser known possibility can allow candidates to bypass the need for the traditional full-time route to qualification by undertaking a part-time-study training contract.
You do not have to finish the LPC before starting a training contract and it is possible to train while studying the LPC. However, as a result of working part-time, your training contract will be longer than the traditional two year training contract. For example, assuming you work four days per week and attend the LPC one day a week, your training period will be two and a half years.
Advantages of the part-time-study route are:
- It can provide the opportunity to have less time between securing the training contract and starting work;
- Increased flexibility;
- It may also be suitable for those that would like to be able to link their study to practical experience.
- The pressure of juggling work with study;
- The longer time spent training;
- Any missed opportunities from not working full-time;
- The limited knowledge you will have at the start of your training.
The part-time-study training contract appears to be suitable to those who have already completed several years of legal work experience but not the LPC and are looking to qualify the quickest way possible without taking time off to undertake full-time study. While the part-time-study training contract is still a novelty in the world of training contracts, it may become more widely offered as firms look to maximise their search for the best quality candidates.The blog post was written by trainee solicitor Rohan Cordeiro.