I’m struggling to balance working full-time as a paralegal while completing the LPC

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Will it be ‘worth it in the end?’

In the latest instalment in our Career Conundrums series, one paralegal struggling to balance work alongside study asks for readers’ advice.

“I’m an employment paralegal in a reasonable-sized firm outside of London. I enjoy what I do — it’s the most ‘human’ area on the spectrum of commercial law. I would love to train here, except I haven’t been offered a training contract with the firm (yet). I am currently in the second year of the Legal Practice Course (LPC), which I am studying part-time on weekends and self-funding. It was a risk; both financially (for obvious reasons) and socially because after a full working week (the hours can be quite long) I then have uni to (not) look forward to, plus during the week I’ve got to make sure I’ve done all my assigned prep for two days of workshops. This leaves very little time to even consider starting TC apps.

I balanced my workload well in the first year — ending the year on set for a distinction and managing a couple of grades in the 90s — but now things are tricky.

With an experienced solicitor leaving over the summer and being replaced by an NQ, I have taken on an increased workload. With employment claims at an all-time high, I find my study taking a back seat. I have been pulling all-nighters where I can and working seven days just to get everything done; yet I still don’t feel as well prepared as I was in my first year.

I have discussed my concerns with work. My team is supportive and have been pushing for another solicitor and paralegal to assist me. They repeat that ‘it will be worth it in the end’ and that I am certain to receive a TC offer from the firm. The higher-ups have been less helpful; they do not have plans to hire another paralegal or admin support. There isn’t a study leave policy, and any time for study/exams is taken as annual leave or unpaid holiday. Although they have told me they believe I will do well and “they’ll see what they can do” during the next TC application round, there is no willingness to make a firm offer.

I am taking on more and more responsibility at work while falling further and further behind with the LPC. I fear my end grade will not reflect my ability. With no training contract after I graduate, I’m starting to think is this even worth it..? Any advice would be much appreciated.”

If you have a career conundrum, email us with it to


Greenberg Glusker Future Trainee

The simple answer to this is don’t do the LPC unfunded if you can’t afford to without working at the same time. If you do so, the free time you have needs to be spent going to open days, networking and applying for vacation schemes and training contracts.

If you can’t afford to do that, do not self-fund and wait until you have a training contract, perhaps paralegalling beforehand. The LPC grant once funded + an interest free student overdraft should be enough to get you through – I should know because that’s what I did.

It’s not rocket science.



That’s not answering the question put in front of you. Well done!



How can i work at Greenberg Gulsker plz help me i want to work there very much



Hi Abdul,

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, if you can make love to three women and simultaneously pilot a 1960s Riva speedboat across Lake Como, if you can buy a DFS sofa at full retail price, then you’ll be a top, top titan, my son.



Well below the advertised rate.



forget greenberg glusker, join dichart



Is Dechart a top firm?



u think ur funny ?


wow, u hav big brain



This is all shit banter.



Stfu, its top top


Appreciative Bystander

I do enjoy this banter but I wish I understood it. Can someone please explain?


too kompleks no idea bruv !


What about the law firms that require the LPC in order to even get a paralegal position?????



F those jokerz


Rosina Hodges

I think if you, you know. It doesn’t sound like the firm are keen to invest in you or make promises or plans about your future. Focus on your LPC if your standards drop at work it might just make them realise. If not, then keep looking, the right will firm will turn up 🙂 x



I did the LPC part time whilst working on a zero hours contract, whilst I had variable hours it was very difficult. An extra 5000 is needed as the loan doesn’t cover much.

I wouldn’t endorse self funding a LPC to get a paralegal role, you’ll just end up doing solicitors work on peanuts salary.

Just get a role in government, casework 35 hours a week weekends off.

I ended up failing the LPC.



You may have failed exams by failing to address the question posed.



How on earth do you fail the LPC?



Nicholas Rees head of Clifford chance’s Tokyo office made me stay up into the early hours of the morning as reported by Legal Cheek



Shit hole firms asking paralegals to have LPC qualification and underpay them, instead of giving training contracts. Makes gender and ethnic pay gap so much worse



It was going so well…



Well if you’ve already paid for the damn thing yourself (silly), then do your utmost best to get a distinction. Yes, in an interview saying you balanced full-time work with studying might get some kudos, but if you don’t have the grades then you won’t get in the door.

Also, proofread your TC applications when you do get round to doing them please.



But they aren’t supporting him properly and people are leaving. Your answer isn’t specific to the scenario



The implication is there. Doing your utmost best to get a distinction in this case is either securing time off (paid or unpaid), or leaving the firm.

If you have taken the plunge to pay for the LPC, get a distinction by any means or, to specifically answer the question, yes, it is not worth it.



So let’s actually answer the question.

You need to take time off work, at worst, leave the role. You don’t want to jeopardise your grades having done so well so far. With those grades you’ll be able to pick up a new role elsewhere. If your firm have been supportive so far and not being helpful right now in this critical time, then this isn’t the type of culture you should be in.

If you can’t afford to leave at such short notice then take unpaid leave and knuckle down for the final set of exams etc. They haven’t offered you a TC so far so you don’t have any ties with them. You don’t want to put your health (both mental and physical) at risk as well as your grades and future prospects. You have to make the sacrifice now.






This is the best answer on this entire s*** storm of comments.



No it’s not. Barely top 3.



It sounds like his firm are going to rely on him training the NQ or at the very minimum, get him/her up to speed. Offer to leave citing work stress / LPC commitments and I guarantee they will offer you a TC to keep you around.



Here’s some advice as for once I don’t feel this is a fake LC question.

Your firm doesn’t care about you.

If they did they would have brought in the additional staff or adjusted your caseload to make it more manageable.

Furthermore, they are dangling the carrot of a potential training contract without committing to giving it to you in writing. Over time you will see this happens over and over again.

People get assurances about TC’s by supervisors all the time to then be told the higher-ups in the firm couldn’t approve it (budgetary reasons or over subscription, etc). The fact the senior managers won’t assist with your current caseload indicates they are indifferent towards you and a TC is not a ‘done thing’ as has apparently been conveyed to you.

They are using you. I am sorry to have to tell you this as it may be your first law job. Please speak to other people you know at other firms who may be able to offer an experienced opinion on this.

Give your firm an ultimatum and leave if necessary. They need to start meeting you in the middle on certain things. There are lots of other jobs out there you could walk into.



Perfect advice!






I’m telling you this firm the person coul be working at are McMillan Williams. They are shite and tight.



McMillian williams VS here I come!






I am surprised by the negative comments.

This person has already decided to self fund the LPC whilst working, so telling them it’s a bad idea really is not helpful.

My thoughts, FWIW:

Well done you for getting through year one. Keep going and yes it is worth it. I did the same and it is incredibly tough. The LPC is meant to be tough, for good reason! So that, alongside full time work is admirable. Now you have started, keep going and do all you can to keep the distinction (I didn’t) and at the end, even if your firm don’t offer you a TC, you will have the LPC with good grades AND you can say you did it alongside full time work, in a relevant field. You will be an attractive hire.

Keep going and ignore the naysayors.



My sincere advice to you, and this may sound harsh, but stop whingeing and get on with it.

You aren’t the first person to be in this position and you won’t be the last either. I worked full time in RTA dealing with a case load of 100 litigated files – anyone who has done RTA knows just how demoralising and stressful the work can be. I made next to no money and to make matters worse I had my LPC repayments of £300 coming out of my account every month.
It was an incredibly stressful time for me. I constantly felt like a failure. I cried my way through every revision session and every exam. I deferred plenty of times. I failed plenty of times. It was by no means easy.

But within 3 months of finishing the LPC I secured a TC.

I will qualify as a commercial property solicitor in 8 weeks.

If you want it, you can do it and nothing will stand in your way.

Get off legal cheek and get on with it mate.



Typical wanker turning the spotlight around on themselves as using their response as a platform to brag.

Ignore this prick. Saying this person should man up is pathetic.


Lady Gale

I did the same thing, studied the LPC alongside working as a paralegal full time. The firm I broke my back for 3 years ended up bypassing all the paralegals and giving all of the training contracts to outside applicants. It’s a really shitty situation and I’m not sure what the answer is as a lot of firms dangle the carrot to get decent paralegals who they can pay peanuts until they realise what’s going on and leave. Then they just move on to the next batch.

My advice for the remainder of the LPC is to pick easier electives. They may be easier because you’re familiar with the subject or just easier in general. I thought commercial property was easy – I did that alongside the banking module and spent MUCH more time doing the banking module.

Also have a cut off of no work after 9pm, you need time to recharge and you’re in danger of burning out if you don’t get it. Take uni work to work with you and do a bit here and there during the day to compensate.



Fims have a business model that include a certain turnover of paralegals each year. I used to work for a sweatshop where about 33% of paralegals would move each year and they had dedicated HR members to deal with recruitment and leavers as they had a stack-em-high & pay-them-low mentality. Sorry to hear you were used and abused with externals given the TC used to motivate you.



As someone who has done the LPC part-time whilst working full-time in a firm in the City, my advice is to persist and keep going. You don’t have long to go and it will be worth it in the end. Even if you don’t end up getting a TC at your firm (I did, but the firm was quite reluctant to offer me one for a long time), you will be able to use the experience and get one elsewhere. Doing the LPC part-time whilst working full-time is tough and I really hated it, especially in the first year where the light at the end of the tunnel was still very far. However, it was worth it for me and despite working long hours and not always doing all the prep for the LPC, I still managed to get a distinction.



Similar to another poster above, this person is using this as an opportunity to talk about themselves. Ignore this fool.



Everyone needs to stop telling this person to keep on with the status quo. They are cracking under the workload and lack of sleep caused by overworking. The suggestion to continue with this is unhelpful. Saying “I manned up” and trying to one up them with anecdotes of how you got a TC and bossed the LPC with a really hard paralegal job means nothing for this persons specific circumstances.


West London

I balanced bptc and full time job in the city.

Where the fire?



Yeah it’s all about you bro. Enjoy your mirrorwank later on.



I’m not convinced that anybody emails Legal Cheek for career advice. I mean, it isn’t as though Legal Cheek is over-populated by successful practitioners, is it?



It is, however, read by successful practitioners xx



Securing a training contract is the beginning as opposed to the end. If you spend your time by working full-time and achieving Distinction for the part-time LPC, might that just be a different route taken from attending networking sessions and open day (which leads to the same intended result)? Keep going, it will be worth it as you watch people’s reaction filled with awe when you unlock this achievement.



Another one who is telling this person at their wits end to Man Up.



OP, my most sincere advice is to work towards achieving the highest grade possible (preferably a distinction) on the LPC.

Be aware that until you have officially received a TC offer, any talk with respect to it by your firm should be taken extremely lightly. At the end of the day, it is vital that you look out for your own interests, as no one else will hold them more dearly than yourself.

Having said this, do have (ASAP) a very honest discussion with your employers where you demand (not ask) for immediate support with respect to your studies (be it in the form of study leave or whatever may suit you best). Your firm will either: (i) support you and allow said concessions (as they will enhance your professional prospects, thus demonstrating they were honest in saying they wanted to train you), or (ii) not give you any support at all.

Should the latter case arise, I would prioritise my LPC studies even if it meant potentially leaving the job. A paralegal position is, unfortunately, not a very prestigious position, and securing that distinction will enhance your employment prospects exponentially more than if you were to stay at your firm, lowering your LPC grades, and with the added risk of not bagging a TC.

Ignore the advice of “just getting on with it”; do what works for yourself. I believe that should be prioritising your studies and grades. Since you do not have a TC (yet), your final LPC grade (which you have also self-funded) will be a primary factor of whether you manage to secure that future TC or not; it is therefore vital that you prioritise it in whichever way possible.



Working full time with a part time LPC was incredibly difficult – and unlike you I wasn’t even pulling nighters.

There are of course 2 parts. The LPC and your role.

One – If you want to qualify, persist with the LPC. As many have pointed out, a Distinction will go a long way in helping you secure that TC. You’ve paid for this out of your own pocket.

Two – In relation to your role, there’s no study leave, no concrete TC offer, have not funded your LPC, no time for you to make TC apps, potential detriment to your physical and mental health.

It’s clear where the problems lie. Consider an
respectful ultimatum and/or draw a line as to what time you leave the office. Your paralegal role is not worth your health, hampering your career prospects, your LPC grades (which they won’t even pay for).



Agree. OP is in the ironic position of advising people on employment law rights without exercising their own rights with their employer.



I, too, am studying the LPC (with LLM) part-time and working full-time. It was difficult to begin with but I found myself just getting into the routine of switching back and forth, and somehow it just feels like second nature now.

I would definitely stop taking on more responsibilities at work. They don’t seem to be completely respecting or supporting you so firstly, maybe think twice about even WANTING to train at such a firm, and secondly, don’t go above and beyond for them if they won’t do the same for you. Learn to say “no” and tell them that you no longer have capacity to take on any more work and they will then have no choice but to delegate to others / hire more people.

I find that planning my whole week in advance on a Sunday really helps. I’ll squeeze in some LPC work on the train commuting to and from work, and in my lunch breaks, and then I’ll do some more work at home. It is tiring and draining, but it does get easier once you make it a habit. I think planning out every inch of your day has to be key here. I do however find it easier because I really enjoy the LPC, so maybe think about whether you do too.

Maybe take a day off work, or spend a day on the weekend where you focus JUST on applications and nothing else. Also, remember that it’s ok not to have done every inch of your LPC reading / prep all of the time!!

If you do really want to be a Lawyer, unfortunately the LPC is a must. However, you are not bound to working at that particular firm and therefore that would be far easier to sacrifice right now. The most important thing is that you look after yourself, your health and your well-being, because this should never ever be sacrificed. Good luck!


Barrister at Law

The amount of people who are supposed “trainees” on this comment string, who are useless lowlifes, using this as a platform to advertise their greatness and not help this clearly struggling individual, is alarming. Is this the future of commercial law? God help us! Take it from a barrister of 5 years call, that you won’t last long in the world of work with an attitude like that! Stop trying to be Harvey Spector and get back to your document review… acting like a bunch of children.



Because it’s the Instagram generation who need to turn every conversation around to them and their experiences, feelings, beliefs and needs.


You’re completely right with your observations about a number of the above posters. Those type of people get stuck in Associate purgatory if they’re kept on by their firm because they lack the soft skills set to liase with clients and develop into partners.


TC success

Why do you feel the need to fully prepare for a Tutorial and not apply for TCs? Surely this is counter intuitive to studying the LPC? I find if you prepare reasonably well for each Tutorial and apply for each tutorial, unless you’re having one to one Tutorials – don’t forget you’re in a class that ‘could’ pick up the slack and a tutor that doesn’t expect you to know everything. You can always pick up on the finer points a little later in the run up to the exams.



This comment isn’t particularly helpful. The OP is not in a position to balance achieving their grades with paid work, never mind TC apps, which as we all know are an involved and time-consuming exercise.

OP; you’ve got your own strategy here if you’ve chosen to commit to self-funding the part-time LPC. All I’ll say, given the pitchfork crowd on this type of comment, is that I too self-funded the part-time LPC, but I attended uni on Wednesdays and worked an extra hour the four days, giving me my precious weekends to rest or catch up on LPC work. I did this knowing I would struggle to attend LPC classes during a weekend. So I respect your tougher journey here.

If it helps, I made the decision at the start of my LPC not to do any TC apps until I had completed the course. I focused on applying for a better paralegal role (where I was working didn’t offer TCs) and interviewed for this just before my last LPC exams, and started straight away afterwards. I then applied for two TCs: one I got a telephone interview straight away, the other was with the firm I worked for, and I was successful with this.

I got a distinction in my LPC; I gave myself no other choice in light of less-than-great degree grades. So my advice is to prioritise your distinction or your best grades possible. You won’t be able to change that once the course is over. You can always change your job. I would even move away from a paralegal role temporarily in order to achieve this if the job is detrimental to your LPC investment. One thing at a time is the way to do this and not feel overwhelmed. Keep your focus and stay confident. There is no rush. The TC opportunity will be there somewhere.



I see that some people have suggested that you stop your work as a paralegal to focus on thr LPC, and although that was my initial thought, I’m aware that you need to fund the rest of your LPC somehow. You might want to think about speaking to the firm about going part-time, or alternatively switching to a firm that offers that option.

Alternatively, if that isn’t financially feasible I would speak to the firm about reducing your workload, in a way that is assertive, emphasising that if you’re not granted concessions you will untimely have to leave the firm.


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