Editor’s Weekly: Testing times

Those of you starting your final year at university without a training contract in the bag will soon have to ask yourself whether or not to self-fund the Legal Practice Course (LPC).

There is no right or wrong answer to the above question. But there is one thing I know for sure – far too many students complete the LPC without any chance of ever securing a training contract. So it’s refreshing to hear that the Law Society is calling for the introduction of an LPC entrance test to weed out weak students (see story).

Any such test would need backing from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and given the fact that the Bar Standards Board has decided to extend its pilot Bar Professional Training Course admissions test by 12 months it’s likely to be some time before we see much movement on this.

Nonetheless, at least it may help to highlight the discrepancy between the number of students completing the LPC and training contracts available per year and encourage students to think more carefully about self-funding.

So before you get sucked in by the LPC providers and start completing your application form I suggest you think long and hard about why you didn’t secure a training contract this summer. If it’s simply because your academics were not up to scratch then it’s definitely worth asking yourself whether there is any point in forking out £20,000 upwards to do a course, which won’t guarantee you a job at the other end.

I think a student’s worse enemy is being overly ambitious and unrealistic about the type of law firm/chambers to apply to. I’m therefore very much in favour of any process that’s designed to help students and providers alike to determine whether they’ve really got what it takes to reach the finishing line.