Should I do an LLM and sit the SQE — or do the LPC while I still can?

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I want to become a City lawyer

SQE super exam SRA solicitors students

In the latest instalment of our Career Conundrums series, one aspiring City lawyer needs advice on whether to complete an LLM and sit the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), or do the Legal Practice Course (LPC) while it’s still on offer.

“I have a question in relation to the SQE examinations. I have been wanting to do an LLM for some time, as I have been hoping to further my legal knowledge in a particular area of law that interests me. However, my primary goal is ultimately to obtain a training contract at a City firm after my LLM. If I pursue an LLM in 2019, I would be required to take the SQE examinations in 2020 instead of the LPC.

I have been doing a lot of research on the SQE, and unfortunately, the downside of the SQE is that it does not have the breadth of subjects that the LPC has. I am concerned that as SQE’s curriculum is narrower with fewer specialist practice areas, there will be less opportunity to ‘test the waters’ and make an informed decision of which practice area I would be interested in before applying for my training contract seat preferences. I am also worried that law firms will prefer candidates with the traditional LPC instead of the SQE. So, what should I do? Pursue the masters and do the SQE, or do the LPC instead?”

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Do the LPC. The SQE will be an absolute sh*t show for the first few years post-roll out.



This ☝🏼



Don’t join a City firm if you’re interested in law enough to study for an LLM.

Secretaries in high street firms practise more law than your average City trainee.

You’ll spend the first five years of your career as an admin assistant, arsing around with documents to make them look pretty for clients.



[Imagine I’ve covered the “why do you want to be a City lawyer, you loon?” point and we’ll move on]


We still don’t know what’s happening with the SQE exactly and City firms haven’t fully thought about how it will affect their numbers of “trainees” and what kind of training they’ll be giving – it will be changing. A training contract gives you a better chance to work out what you want to do as well as for the firm to work out if they want to employ you to do it and has the advantage of being a known quality for firms.

Also, you don’t mention the topic of your LLM – unless it’s something that adds value to your application to City firms you could actually make things worse by highlighting your interest in human rights or whatever it is.



Hear hear.



Imagine the title of the LLM isn’t mentioned because this isn’t a real conundrum, just a decent follow up to recent news about the SQE.


Critical Thinker

It. Doesn’t. Fucking. Matter.

All they’re doing is replacing one bullshit private-equity money spinner with another bullshit private-equity money spinner.



Amen to that!


As previously posted

“Firms will hire the same people and they will go through substantially the same process as they always have. I suspect the only difference will be the huge numbers of unemployed “Solicitors” as opposed to unemployed LPC graduates.

As for price, the LPC used to be much cheaper than it currently is. These things have a habit of increasing in price over time, particularly when delivered by private universities held by PEs. If the SRA cap the cost, they will simply introduce SQE LLMs and similar. I expect to see history repeat itself.”


Avv. Kattivo

I would wholeheartedly recommend doing an LL.M., provided this would be with a “top” university in a field that can prove of use to you or your future career.

As for LPC vs SQE, the answer is not as straightforward. I would go for the LPC as it looks a much more “certain” route than the SQE of which we still know so little of.

Regarding becoming a City laywer, an LL.M. will definitely not help you land the TC you want (if you are lacking in the other criteria, namely work experience and especially academic criteria). Having said this, a prestigious LL.M. will definitely embellish your CV provided that all other criteria are in place.

In addition, it will also be a very stimulating and challenging year, which you will have spent with truly bright students coming from the best universities from all around the globe (provided the institution you’re at is “top” ranked).



There is no guarantees the SQE will even be ready by the time you will need it to if you did take that option.



You could do the LLM and the LPC.

The LPC will still be an option for anyone who started/completed a QLD anytime up until the SQE is formally launched.



I’d do the LPC, it gets you beyond the certainty. There are a lot of qualified solicitors who do an LLM or doctorate on their speciality, so you can always follow up on this afterwards.



Once you’re on the treadmill, you tend to fall off the back than take a dignified step to stop running.



What degree do you have? If you have a shit degree from a shit uni, then forget about it.


Silver lining

Well you can take a out a student loan that will help towards LLM fees. So that’s a plus. LPC is already overpriced and contains subjects that are outdated and not as useful in practice as should be.

I think LLB followed by an LLM and SQE will bring this profession in line with other professions.

LLM is already accepted and well recognised in other jurisdictions and international organisations, so why stick with LPC and traditional route when you can keep your options open and qualify as a solicitor on the side?


Big John

Some Universities now do LLM combined with LPC, so you get your LPC whilst studying for your LLM.



Ah yes, the highly reputable LPC LLM.



You’re starting from wrong premises. If you want to be a Curry lawyer, as you say, then get a training contract and then do whatever your firm has you do. So it’s not LLM vs LPC, it’s LLM vs. Something Else (like working).



“City lawyer”, of course.



Huge shortage of curry counsel in the city actually, could become way more lucrative in the next few years as curries get increasingly complex with self-currying curries and artificial intelligence curries.



I think the SQE format is uncertain and it will take a few years before Kaplan figure it out properly. I had the same predicament last year.. if I should wait for the SQE or start the LPC. I’ve started the LPC and I’m glad I did. Many places offer the LPC with the LLM so it helps having the option of a student loan. I’ve read nothing greatly positive about the SQE so far it all seems in the air at the moment and may take a few years for the creases to be ironed out. Maybe attend some open days if you’re unsure. The LPC is accepted and a long standing course, the SQE is a dam uncertain mess from what I’ve read so far. I doubt city firms prefer candidates with an SQE rather than an LPC when so far it appears to be a shambles.



As mentioned above, only do the LLM if it is going to add to your applications, and not take away.

I did an LLM in a niche area I wanted to work in and it got me nowhere – The LPC on the other hand is what recruiters are looking out for, and it opened doors for me in both private practice, and in-house where I currently am.



Chin it and go live on a scottish island as a crofter. You’ll be much happier. Being a lawyers sucks balls.



Majority carry the vote


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