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My first month studying the LPC

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Note: I am studying the part-time, evening course.

Since graduating from my Masters, I have spent the past eight months going through a range of phases:

  1. What do I do with all of my time?

  2. Wow, I love working 9 - 5, I can fit in so many new hobbies;

  3. I’m very tired but very grateful of working 9 - 5;

  4. Okay, I’m mentally prepared to go back to uni. Let's go.

Week one

Week one, Monday. I woke up READY. I had just been on holiday for a week so was totally rested. Prior to that, I spent a week doing all of the LPC prep work I possibly could. This is the moment I had been waiting for!

The first week was not as bright and cheerful as I had hoped. Although this is a part-time (evening) course, the university had scheduled compulsory classes during the day for the first week. I work full-time, and at this point in the year, I only had one day of holiday left - that was not enough to cover this blunder. I was very lucky that my boss allowed me to work flexibly for the week, starting and finishing at whatever wild times suited me, and making up any extra hours the following week.

The compulsory tasks for uni were as follows:

  • Pick up fresh new ID;

  • Attend two welcome workshops;

  • Attend three workshops on Professional Practice (all in one day);

  • Attend two online talks covering employability and the library's skills talks.

I did the first three of those bullet points, but had to miss the talks in the final bullet point due to a training session at work.

Alongside the compulsory sessions, I was of course analysing the timetable for the year, producing my study schedule. It is suggested that we spend 5-7 hours preparing for each workshop. From experience, they're serious about this, so I allocated two nights of prep per workshop.

Week one workshops:

  • Introduction to Professional Practice (IPP): Legal writing;

  • IPP: Professional conduct and regulation;

  • IPP: Legal drafting.

Week two

Week two, on the other hand, featured just two workshops. Both ran from 6pm to 8pm on their allocated evenings. This was a breath of fresh air after the first week, in which we had three workshops in one day. It was relieving to know that this was how the rest of the timetable would generally be. I did struggle, however, with fitting in the extra hours needed to make up for taking time off for compulsory university sessions the previous week.

My evenings of studying continued, and I had a double bill booked in one night so that I could go All Out at WHP on Friday. Needless to say, I got ill (freshers' flu at the ripe old age of 24) and had to cancel both my studying and my dancing. This was my body’s way of telling me to SLOW DOWN - so I did, and took most of the weekend off (flu-ridden).

Week two workshops:

  • IPP: Interviewing;

  • IPP: Practical legal research.

Week three

Uni work continued just as the week before. This week did introduce me to BLP for the first time, however, whilst the previous two weeks focused only on IPP. I quite enjoyed the workshop but be warned that the prep work for the first BLP workshop is extremely long - much longer than any of the others.

The LPC option modules were released this week, so I spent a lot of time moving post-its around on a page and scribbling in red and green pens. I had a lot of advice from others who recently undertook the LPC at work and managed to narrow my options down somewhat.

The first mock exam was also released. I engaged with the legal writing mock and submitted a paper that I was pleased with. Regardless of how prepared I am for a mock, I always make sure I attempt it because there can always be useful feedback, whatever I submit. This one in particular included reading preliminary documents and writing a letter to a client. I did find that the letter I submitted was longer than it would be if I were to write the same letter at work; I found it difficult to cut/leave anything out, in case it looked like I hadn't noticed/did not know something. I look forward to reading the feedback and getting further guidance on this.

I finally bit the bullet and invested in a new bag. I found that between work and uni, I was carrying quite a lot of 'stuff' - notebooks, folders, my laptop, lunch, and dinner. At this point, I had been too busy to get into the gym, but I usually go quite a bit. So, knowing that I was also going to be carrying my gym gear on top of this, I needed a new bag. After lusting over a Christian Dior book bag (and then seeing the price), I settled on a weekend bag with huge storage space, laptop sleeve, and separate compartments. No longer the lady of many tote bags!

Finally, I took two hours off on Saturday morning to walk around a vintage fair with my headphones in. This was much-needed after the past few weeks of constant go-go-go on productivity.

Week three workshops:

  • IPP: Business accounts;

  • Business Law and Practice (BLP): Partnership.

Week four

In week four, I finally started to settle. It was a great feeling. The two workshops went by as usual, but most importantly, I took Friday night off to go for tapas with friends and see Smile in the cinema. And that totally made up for missing Bongo's Bingo because it was at the same time as my BLP workshop.

Week four workshops:

  • IPP: Professional conduct and regulation (2);

  • BLP: Separate legal personality and groups of companies.

Going forward

I had considered formulating some long-term objectives at this point. However, appreciating that there will be ups and downs, busy weeks and quieter weeks., and I'm just one month into the LPC, I'm instead going to focus on short-term objectives for now.

Short-term objectives:

  • Keep working on improving the work/life balance;

  • Download the Respondus software and take the PCR mock exam;

  • Attend the upcoming virtual electives fair and decide on the options;

  • Drink fewer cups of coffee per day;

  • Make time to spend with friends and family.

Niamh O'Connor / niamhfoconnor / published 14.10.2022


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