Now that he's finished the GDL, David Woodall finally has some time to sample the delights of law firms' training contract application forms.
The GDL is over. Stressful, difficult, but worth it, hopefully...
I keep telling myself that even if I’ve failed and have wasted thousands of pounds, at least I have a little legal knowledge which might come in handy in the future (at the very least for picking out legal mistakes in crime dramas).
It’s all out of my hands now, though. I did what I could (not helped by National Rail, which delivered me 27 minutes late for one exam; three more minutes and I wouldn’t have been allowed in, and I wasn’t given extra time at the end). So the next stage on the road to lawyerhood beckons: the training contract application process and the LPC.
Dealing with the latter first, there is simply no way I can justify spending £20,000 total on LPC fees and living expenses without a job to go to at the end of it. I would be financially crippling myself for life – so for me, no LPC this September...
Earlier this month, the National College of Legal Training (NCLT) announced, to much fanfare, that it would be holding a "reverse auction" for an LPC place on its Facebook page.
"To enter, students have to sign up to the event and then log into Facebook on 27 May at 11am," NCLT explained. "We will post on our facebook wall the LPC fees which will gradually reduce throughout the day. When a student sees the fees at a level they are willing to pay, they simply have to be the first to write on the NCLT facebook wall 'I want that LPC!'."
27 May was, of course, yesterday. So what happened?
Good news for LPC students at Liverpool John Moores University whose business law and practice (BLP) exam was terminated two thirds of the way through last week by a faulty fire alarm: they won’t be required to re-sit the exam, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has confirmed today.
Having giving serious thought to making students re-do the paper, the SRA has decided instead to use what it describes as "a complicated mathematical formula” to calculate students’ marks on the basis of what they had already completed before they were evacuated from the exam hall.
With the approximately 50 affected students having completed two hours and ten minutes of the three-hour exam, the SRA is confident it can “ensure all are treated fairly” as it applies its formula.
LPC students at Liverpool John Moores University are in limbo after a fire alarm went off two thirds of the way through their business law and practice (BLP) exam on Friday.
Having been evacuated immediately from the building, the students – who had completed two hours and ten minutes of the three hour paper – were forced to wait outside for 30 minutes as staff dealt with what is believed to have been a false alarm.
Upon re-entering the exam hall at 12.40pm, the students sat down expecting to be able to complete the last 50 minutes of their papers. But an invigilator then decided that the exam had to be terminated immediately.
Afterwards, a meeting of the university’s LPC staff resulted in a cryptic email being sent out to the approximately affected 40-50 students. A copy of the email was obtained by Legal Cheek, and is re-produced below:
The College of Law’s Facebook page is usually a happy place, where wannabe lawyers post polite queries which are promptly answered by members of the law school’s digital team.
But on Wednesday there was trouble in paradise.
“I HATE COLLEGE OF LAW,” wrote LPC student Jafar Jawid in angry block capitals on the page.
To which the College of Law, all smiles even when in receipt of such upsetting news, responded:
“Hi Jafar. Sorry to hear you feel that way - can we help with anything?”
Hi Auntie Em,
I'm midway through the Legal Practice Course (LPC), having just reconvened after the Xmas break, and, to tell you the truth, I wish I was doing anything but this.
I don't want to be a lawyer. The trouble is I don't know what else to do with my life. At university I studied history, then did the law conversion course because I didn't know what else to do, and now I find myself on the way to becoming a solicitor. I find the law so boring.
I don't have a training contract lined up, but then I don't want to be a solicitor...but what else can I do? Basically, I'm lost.
Disclaimer: Auntie Em has never worked in a law firm. But she is an aunt and has a psychology degree. As a teenager, Auntie Em had a dream predicting 9/11.
This week Alex Aldridge is taking a barely earned rest from uploading blogs to Legal Cheek to go on holiday to Morocco. As he tries to sell Aunty Em for 2 camels and a leather bag, co-host Kevin Poulter takes charge of the #RoundMyKitchenTable podcast (for two weeks only), rebranding it #RoundMyDiningTable.
Joining him #RoundMyDiningTable is fresh faced (but very experienced) employment lawyer Laurie Anstis, of Reading firm Boyes Turner, and former colleague of James Blunt (i.e. he was in the army), current Magic Circle 'Outsourced Operations Manager' and law student, Neil MacKinnon.
As Christmas party season is in full swing, this week's podcast tackles that seasonal institution that instills fear in trainees and underlings across the country - for those lucky enough to work in firms able to afford a Christmas party that is.
Also up for debate is the two year combined LPC and training contract soon to be offered by Eversheds and new suggestions for sifting training contract applications.
Law graduates' transferable skills give them an advantage in the non-legal job market, says Cat Pond
If you study law, you go into law. Simple enough, surely? Well, not to the growing number of law graduates currently branching out into a variety of different sectors.
A glance at a selection of university surveys on the destination of legal graduates, and a chat with my fellow law students, reveals a wide range of jobs taken after the completion of their studies.
Finance has an unsurprisingly large presence, but the property, marketing and voluntary sector are all well represented. Of course, there are the more unusual onward paths taken. One survey showed graduates becoming ski chalet hosts and taking on animal husbandry roles.
Law graduates Flora Duguid and Cathryn Kozlowski have both opted to take gap years before doing the Legal Practice Course (LPC) in order to hunt for training contracts. Is this sensible? Or are they being overly risk averse?
In the meantime, Cathryn, who wants to work in media law, has turned down a paralegal job with a small firm specialising in family law. RoundMyKitchenTable co-host Kevin Poulter, a solicitor at Bircham Dyson Bell, is aghast at Kathryn’s decision.
But Guardian law journalist Alex Aldridge reckons Kathryn has probably made the right move, recommending instead that she have a look at options like Accutrainee, the new scheme that allows LPC graduates to qualify as lawyers by training at a number of different firms (although Accutrainee pays less than City firms and doesn’t necessarily lead to a full-time job). Flora and Kathryn are suspicious about Accutrainee, though – maybe a little too suspicious, in Alex’s view.
The quartet go on to discuss law firms’ obsession with A-level results and their practice of recruiting two years in advance.
Other than a short-lived campaign to occupy the Inns of Court, there are few examples of law students engaging with issues affecting the legal profession, says LPC student Cat Pond
During the recent public sector strikes, I was struck by the size of the turnout and the vehemence of the strikers. For many of them, this was the first time they had ever gone on strike - the government’s programme of cuts seeing them to take that final step of walking out.
The strikers’ very public expression of militant discontent started me thinking about whether the same drive to protest could lurk somewhere within law students. With the exception of 'OccupyTheInns', a law graduate who recently wrote several posts for Legal Cheek, I’m not aware of any law student campaign trying to affect change in the legal profession. In some ways, this is surprising. Surely it would follow that in exchange for engaging in the arduous legal education process and training contract or pupillage hunt, law students would want a say in the running of the legal profession?