The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has confirmed proposals that will enable students to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) in two stages.
The first stage will cover the core practice areas, course skills and professional responsibilities and conduct. During the second stage students will need to complete three vocational electives.
The new rules allow students to take stage two of the LPC at the same time as their training contracts thereby allowing them to spread the costs of the course, undertake electives that are directly relevant to the type of practice in which they are working, co-ordinate the study of their electives so that their study and their work experience are complementary and take their electives with different providers.
Trainees who start a training contract after stage one of the LPC can study for their electives entirely in their own time (evening, weekends and/or by distance learning) or be given time off by their employers to study.
The move has been welcomed by Nottingham Law School, which was criticised by rivals for being one of the first LPC providers to announce plans to split its course in two, as first reported on Lawyer2B.com last month (13 October).
The deadline for applying for full-time LPC courses starting in September 2009 is 1 December.