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If you want to become a solicitor you’ll need more than classroom-taught theory. LPC programmes provide you with the practical skills required to work in the legal profession, but first you need to secure a place on a course
Applications for full-time courses go through the Central Applications Board (CAB), while part-time students need to submit their application directly to the course provider. The CAB allows full-time students to apply to three law schools at once, in order of preference. Applications are assessed as they are submitted, and as there are no interviews, success rides on your application form, which includes your personal statement.
When writing your personal statement you’ll be given space for up to 10,000 characters. This may sound like a lot, but don’t waste them by padding out your statement with unnecessary detail. Generally you should talk about:
- why you’re applying for a specific LPC course
- what interests you about the programme
- your qualifications, skills and achievements
- relevant work experience
- your future plans.
LPC personal statement
My interest in law was first sparked off by talking to a solicitor at a law careers fair. I was fascinated to hear about his involvement in an unfair dismissal case and was attracted by a role where logical argument could be used to protect a vulnerable individual caught up in a complex and emotionally charged situation. I asked if I could work-shadow him for a day and was delighted to be offered two weeks’ work experience. During this time I attended court, sat in on client meetings and assisted with office tasks. I finished this placement determined to start the route to a career in law.
I am applying for this course because – after completing two-thirds of a degree in law and Spanish, three placements in contrasting law firms and some pro-bono work – I feel that I have a better understanding of what a legal career involves and I am convinced that a career as a solicitor is right for me.
In the first year of my degree I joined the student law society and now have a major role on the executive committee with responsibility for organising events. This has included leading a team of students to set up and take part in a charity debate. I have the capacity for a large workload and balancing my growing role in the student law society with the demands of my degree is helping me to develop my time-management skills.
Also in my first year, I attended an open day for a large commercial law firm in London. The day included work-shadowing a trainee and meeting associates from a wide range of departments. I also took part in a team negotiation exercise to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. I discovered that my strengths lie in logical thinking and prioritising the most important facts.
I was offered a summer vacation scheme as a result of this open day. I was able to assist an associate in two different departments and take part in a client pitch, researching a client and delivering a presentation to a company to provide business advice. I came away with positive experiences to add to my CV but a desire to contrast this placement with one at a law firm working with different clients. I organised a visit to a public services law firm. Here the emphasis was on providing advice to public and third-sector organisations. Although I found the wide range of clients interesting, I realised that the commercial field wasn’t where I want to work.
I decided to compare this with a vacation placement at a personal legal services firm. I was able to assist in the divorce and family department and liked the holistic approach, helping the client to work out what was right for them personally, legally and financially. I also enjoyed wills and estates work; helping people understand complicated law, making it as simple as possible by communicating in plain English. I also developed my writing skills, after being given the opportunity to draft a will.
In my second year I have been able to do some pro bono work at the local Citizens Advice Bureau. This has helped me to look at a person’s situation, identify what is relevant and then apply the appropriate legal knowledge. I have fully developed my research skills, listening skills and ability to explain complex terminology in a way that members of the public can understand. I also developed my interviewing skills and the ability to write formal letters. This experience has helped me to recognise that I would prefer a law career with a people-centred focus and would like to work in family law, a law centre or local government.
Throughout my course I have chosen electives that have supported my developing interests in family law and criminology. I have come to the realisation that as well as being interested in the rules that determine whether a person has committed a criminal offence, I am equally interested in factors which may have led to offenders breaking the law in the first place. The importance of neighbourhood and the effects of poverty are also factors that interest me.
I have found modules on family law particularly absorbing. I was especially interested in the role and limits of the law in regulating family relationships, and how the law is used in family disputes and contact with children after parental separation. I have decided to write my dissertation on the limitations of child protection policy.
I have chosen these law schools because of the focus on developing practical skills through case studies, the wide range of employability modules and the professionalism of the tutors. I am keen to hone my skills in advising and interviewing clients and preparing legal documents. I am interested in the emphasis on case studies that mimic real-life scenarios. I also like the idea of courses with a practitioner mentor scheme and a wide range of work experience placements, as I haven’t yet secured a training contract. I am particularly interested in opportunities to do a work placement in the legal department of a social services childcare team. I attended open days for each of these three courses and I was impressed by how many tutors had professional experience and current links with legal practice. I am keen to further develop knowledge and skills in human rights law, criminology and family law, so have chosen courses that offer electives in these areas.
In my spare time I volunteer for a local victim support group. This involves visiting victims of crime in their own homes to offer assistance with security issues and making claims for compensation, but more importantly to allow people to express their feelings. I find great satisfaction in relating to people in difficulty and making sure that they are aware of their own rights.
I have a keen interest in netball and captain a team in a local friendly league. I find physical exercise complements my interest in keeping up-to-date with legal issues – keeping fit in both body and mind.
I am motivated by an interest in human rights and helping people understand what they are entitled to, particularly in cases where complex legal language dissuades people from exercising their rights. My future plans are to secure a training contract in a personal legal services firm, with a particular interest in divorce and family law, or to work in local government in child protection. I am enthusiastic to take the next step in the route to enable me to work as a solicitor.
Find out more
- Learn about personal statements for postgraduate applications .
- Discover more about the LPC .
- Search for an LPC .
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Writing a personal statement
Your LLM personal statement is your chance to show the admission tutors who you really are – so you want to get it right. Although LLMs are significantly less competitive than LLBs and training contracts, if you’ve set your heart on a specific course you don’t want to trip at the last hurdle. You have the experience of writing your undergraduate personal statement, topped up with three years of essay writing, so it should really be a walk in the park.
Beginning and researching your LLM personal statement
Unlike your undergraduate personal statement, you can tailor your application for an LLM for your specific course rather than speaking generally about your enthusiasm for law in the hope of impressing five different universities.
Whilst this means your statement is going to be more interesting and more impressive, you will need to do your research. Law schools will have a course description on their profiles which is a good place to start. If possible, check out which tutors teach the LLM and what their specialisms are. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of stalking… Within reason.
Specialising in an area of law
The LLM is generally a more focussed law degree, allowing you to explore one or a few areas of law in great detail. If you’re applying for a specialised LLM , you should obviously write about the area you’ve chosen. Explain why you have picked this particular field – if you’ve chosen to do something very specific, you should probably already have a strong reason in mind!
If you’re applying for a more general LLM, you should still mention the areas you’re intending to focus on. Think about modules you particularly enjoyed at undergraduate level and explain what in particular made them interesting for you.
Discussing your future career options
If you have specific plans for your life after university, it would be good to mention how the LLM will fit into them. You should also explain why you’ve decided to do an LLM instead of going straight for a training contract and jumping into your legal career.
You might not have an answer for this – you could just be really interested in a specific area of law, and that’s fine too! Developing your knowledge in one legal field will probably lead you into the career of your dreams anyway.
Writing about your personal skills
Just like with a CV, you need to prove to the admission tutors that you’re the perfect candidate. The best way of identifying and demonstrating your talents is by thinking of any activities or work experience you’ve done, and what you learnt during the process. This will also show the admissions tutors that you have some real world experience and are thinking seriously about your career. If you don’t have any formal work experience like a vacation scheme , think about to anything you did during your undergraduate degree, such as law society events or holding moots.
What not to do in an LLM personal statement
Just like when writing your undergraduate personal statement or when applying for jobs, you should avoid any clichéd phrases or hackneyed quotes. Words like "passionate", "enthusiastic", "interested" and phrases like "since I was child" should be avoided. It’s unlikely that your first words were "I love tort law" and admissions tutors will quickly be bored.
You should also steer clear of making jokes – you’re applying for a postgraduate degree and while Elle Woods got through her career by being charismatic, most admissions tutors are looking for something a bit more serious. It’s ok to try to be individual, but make sure you’re not coming across as overly carefree.
The finishing touches
Make sure you proofread your personal statement, and your entire application, and get someone else to check it if possible. You should also make sure you haven’t exceeded the word limit – each university requires something different, but it’s unlikely they’ll want any over 500. It’s always better to be concise.