As with the other core modules from the Professional Skills Course, there are a series of skills and assumed knowledge expected of trainees before starting Client Care and Professional Standards.
How can I prepare for Client Care and Professional Standards?
One of the most effective ways to practise in the lead up to the PSC would be to go over some of the content you covered in the Legal Practice Course (LPC). Much of the assumed knowledge, as set out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, stems from this course. This includes having a grasp on various SRA guidelines, such as the Accounts Rules that govern how law firms handle their money.
You’ll also be expected to have an understanding of the regulations surrounding paid legal work that you would undertake as a trainee, as well as similar requirements that cover professional practice in your career.
What should I know before starting the module?
In addition to theoretical knowledge, it’s assumed that trainees who begin the PSC can point out and handle ethical problems that can arise with regards to the various people involved in a case, such as the client, their colleagues and the court.
In a more general sense, the provider with which you take the course will expect you to understand the need for good organisational skills, as well as having a well-structured working procedure.
When should I take Client Care and Professional Standards?
Because you’ll need some degree of experience handling real-life legal situations before embarking on the course, the SRA suggests that you begin Client Care and Professional Standards at least six months into your training contract. Ultimately, the law firm you are completing your training is likely to organise your PSC with one of the SRA’s authorised providers.
How will Client Care and Professional Standards be structured?
The module is broken down into three elements, which are taught over the course of 18 hours of workshops over the course of three days - as is the case with Advocacy and Communication Skills. You should also bear in mind that the module has no assessment.
The first element will focus on communication skills, such as developing your interviewing skills, handling difficult clients and dealing with any complaints. You’ll then focus on the professional standards of legal work, looking at the SRA’s codes of conduct and facing conflicts of interest. Finally, element three looks at practical skills involving case management, such as managing your time effectively and being able to minimise potential risks.