LPC student Lee Malam considers that the disappointments encountered on the training contract hunt can be a blessing in disguise.
Name: Lee Malam
Undergraduate University: University of Liverpool
Undergraduate Degree: Law LLB (Hons)
Why did you decide to do the LPC? I chose to study the LPC because I felt it would provide a bridge between my academic study and training at a law firm. As an aspiring commercial lawyer, I also felt that completing the LPC would demonstrate my commitment to a career in law and enhance my employability prospects.
Why College of Law? I chose to study at The College of Law because of its outstanding reputation and I felt that it would be the ideal platform for achieving my future career aspirations. Its recent grant of University status was a strong indicator of the quality of teaching available at all of its centres throughout the UK.
Why did you choose to study in Chester? I live on the Wirral near Liverpool so Chester was a natural choice given my links to the area. The centre is in a really picturesque location and has a great working environment, which was also an important consideration of mine.
Do you have a training contract lined up? No, unfortunately I have fallen just short of the finishing line in recent months. However, I have since treated my disappointment as a blessing in disguise because it has truly spurred me on to improve myself as a potential candidate. The vast amount of extra-curricular and pro bono activities available at The College of Law means that I have been able to further develop the key skills that potential employers are looking for.
How are you funding the course? I have been fortunate enough to be very certain about my chosen career path from a young age and so was able to implement a savings plan during my three years at University through various part-time employment opportunities. During my final year, I worked at a commercial law firm based on Penny Lane in Liverpool meaning I was able to gain some invaluable experience at the same time.
How does the LPC differ from your degree and/or GDL? Has it been a steep learning curve? It is definitely a different way of learning. Whereas a degree is more academic and based around black letter law, the LPC is more practical in nature and there is greater focus on developing skills rather than knowledge. Therefore, there is an element of adjustment required but it is important to remember that everyone is in the same boat so you will always have that support network around you.
What is the social life like? The work load is quite demanding so it would be unrealistic to expect an experience similar of that which the majority of us enjoyed at University. There is plenty to do in Chester town centre, however, and there are a number of popular events organised by the Social Committee on behalf of the students, including a Christmas and Summer Ball.
What about pastoral care, such as the careers service? The careers service in Chester is excellent and provides students with a huge amount of resources to place them on the right track to success. They have arranged talks with numerous leading employers over the course of this academic year in order to provide students with a greater insight into practice. They also operate a mentoring scheme with local law firms, which I personally have found to be very beneficial. I think it is really important to utilise these opportunities whilst they are available, regardless of whether or not you have a training contract secured.
What top tip would you give to someone who is considering applying for the LPC? The LPC is a very big decision for both financial and personal reasons. The legal profession is massively oversubscribed and therefore you have to be realistic regarding what you would ideally like to achieve following completion of the course. I personally could not see myself entering any career other than law so for me the decision was simple. If you are reading this and feel similar then the best advice I can give is to be passionate about your aspirations, never take what you have to offer for granted, and go that extra mile to stand out from the crowd.