Funding your legal practice course (LPC)
Once you’ve made the decision to become a trainee solicitor there are further studies to undertake, whether you’ve already completed a law degree or you’ve been studying another subject.
Qualifying to be a lawyer is not cheap or easy, but the generous salary at the end of it makes all those hours of extra work worthwhile. Here’s how it works:
- Non-law graduates take a conversion course (usually the CPE or GDL). Fees for such courses range from £3,400 to £9,400 full time.
- Graduates who want to become a trainee solicitor take the legal practice course or LPC, fees for which range from £7,900 to £13,676 full time, depending on the course provider and location.
LPC and GDL sponsorship from larger commercial firms
To be eligible for the financial support offered by large and medium-sized commercial firms while training for the LPC (and occasionally the GDL) you’ll first need to have a training contract lined up. The firm may also indicate a preferred institution for the LPC.
The highest maintenance grants (£7,000 or more) tend to be offered by US law firms with London offices – in line with some of the highest starting salaries. But our experts point out size of maintenance grant isn’t everything. Choosing a law firm that fits your character and the type of law you want to practise is the most important consideration.
Loans from smaller firms or relatives
Not everyone wants to secure a training contract with a City, international, US or large regional firm and for those who don’t, planning funding for the next phase of study is vital. Some smaller firms offer interest-free loans with a training contract, some don’t.
It’s also worth considering a request for financial support in the form of a loan or gift from parents or relatives – around half of postgraduates do, according to our recent survey.
There are two-year part-time options for both the LPC and the GDL, allowing you earn while you study.
Professional and careers development loans
Money saved or loaned by friends and family can also be topped up with a professional and careers development loan (PCDL). Professional and careers development loans are currently offered by The Co-operative Bank (Barclays stopped accepting new applications in July).
Professional studies loans
Professional studies loans are offered by high street banks. As a potentially high earner you will probably be viewed as a sound borrower so high street banks are often prepared to make loans with deferred repayment schedules.
Loans, grants and bursary schemes for training as a solicitor
Your local authority may hold, or may be able to point you towards, a grant or philanthropic fund to help you through your studies. Competition for these awards is fierce but grants are made, so it may prove fruitful to apply, even if the forms appear daunting.