Question: I’m taking a year out before I start my LPC to gain legal work experience to better my chances for a training contract. Is this a smart move?
This is a question that I received from Paven Sharma (@SharmaPaven) a law student, via twitter this week.
Although it can be very tempting to want to get straight on with the LPC after your law degree so that you can qualify as soon as possible, there are some distinct advantages to taking a gap year first:
1. As Paven rightly points out in his question, taking a gap year can allow you to get a year’s worth of quality work experience for your CV, which will definitely help with your search for a training contract. I took a gap year between the LLB and the LPC and both my training contract employer and employer that hired me as an NQ commented that they were massively impressed with the amount of work experience I had gained whilst studying.
2. With the rising costs of the LPC and the removal of the minimum salary for trainee solicitors, taking a gap year before starting the LPC will enable you to save some money enabling you to ease the pressure of student debts. I was able to save half of my LPC tuition fees upfront by working for a year before the LPC which meant that I didn’t have to take out a professional loan like most of my classmates.
3. Working in a law firm for a year will help you to work out if being a solicitor is really for you before you actually have to invest heavily in the LPC. When I finished my law degree, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a solicitor. After a year of working with solicitors, my mind was made up and my passion was sparked!
4. Working in a law firm will help you to build up a database of legal contacts that you can contact in the future for advise and help in finding a training contract.
5. The experience that you gain will help you to understand the practical work in the LPC and will make the adjustment to life as a trainee solicitor easier when you start your training contract.
6. If you impress the firm during your gap year, they will be more likely to consider you for a training contract once your LPC is over.
Are you taking or did you take a gap year before starting the LPC? What were your reasons for that decision? (Please comment below)