A third of the time you spend on the 12-day Professional Skills Course is dedicated to elective modules, which are all taught over a single day each. They’re taken at the end of the programme, once you’ve completed the initial 48 hours dedicated to the core modules. Providers will usually have a wide range of electives for you to choose from, so that you can tailor your time on the PSC to fit your own interests or professional requirements.
The specific modules you’ll be able to take will depend on the provider, as the Solicitors Regulation Authority doesn’t set specific electives to be provided. For example, The University of Law has almost fifty different modules to choose from, which are divided into four distinct categories:
- Practice skills,
- Contentious skills,
- Non-contentious skills,
- Higher rights of audience.
The modules that can be chosen from the Practice skills category will focus on improving hands-on abilities as a lawyer - this includes Advanced communication skills, Effective written communication, Impact and influence, Legal technology and Presenting to persuade.
Contentious skills modules allow you to pick out a specific component of a ‘contentious’ practice area you’d like to specialise in, whether that’s out of interest or for your career plan - for instance, you can study specific topics within Criminal law, Dispute resolution, Employment law, Family law, or Personal injury.
Non-contentious skills modules instead cover specific areas in Commercial Law and Intellectual Property, Commercial law, and Corporate law. For a full list of the electives available, you can check out The University of Law’s website for more information.
Higher Rights of Audience
The final category is aimed at trainees looking to go into a career in litigation, allowing you to replace the four elective modules with a Higher rights of audience course. This is made up of two training sessions lasting two days each, culminating in a written exam as well as a practical assessment. The two assessments are weighted the same, and you’ll need a 60% mark to pass the module.