There is no solitary, predetermined roadmap to becoming a solicitor, which may have its drawbacks: for instance, a cookie cutter legal pathway would relieve some of the stress that accompanies the plotting of your next few steps and budget! However, having the flexibility to organise your journey to qualifying around your individual circumstances in a financially practical manner definitely enables you to optimise your career development, it just necessitates a bit of time for research and planning to be taken.
The Professional Skills Course (PSC) is an essential element of qualification, so in recognition of all the potential scenarios a law student could face, the University of Law (ULaw) offers a range of purchase methods to cater to your needs and expenses.
If you are a law student yet to embark on the PSC, or have a substantial portion of the course outstanding, the ideal approach will be ULaw’s accommodating combination deals. They are cost-effective, cover a wealth of legal areas and are adaptable – it is not necessary to specify your full choice of course dates upon booking. As a result, if your schedule changes, there is no need to rebook and lose the savings that block booking brings! For the majority, the bundles to consider are as follows:
The Core Modules package – this is made up of the 3 core modules (48 hours total) for £1,175 plus VAT. These are Advocacy and Communication Skills, Client Care and Professional Standards, and Financial and Business Skills.
The 24 Hours of Electives package – this covers the 4 elective modules (6 hours each), for £595 plus VAT. You will tailor your choice of units – improving practice, contentious or non-contentious skills – from an extensive list to align with your career goals.
The breadth of typical practice skills that are available to hone are dealt with in:
- Advanced Communication Skills
- Being a Resilient Lawyer
- Client Focused Technology and Management of Disruptive Technologies
- Coaching Skills for Lawyers
- Consultancy Skills for Lawyers
- Creative Problem Solving and Emotional Intelligence in the Age of Automation
- Effective Written Communication
- Essential Skills for the In-house Lawyer
- Impact and Influence
- Is it Enforceable?
- Knowledge Management – Improving Research Skills
- Legal Technology – AI/Blockchain
- Presenting to Persuade
- The Law Firm as a Commercial Enterprise
- The O Shaped Lawyer
- The Skilled Negotiator
There are also specialised contentious skills modules for future personal injury, family, employment, criminal and dispute resolution lawyers, alongside focused non-contentious skills courses for those wishing to work in corporate law, commercial property, commercial law and intellectual property, or with private clients.
The Pick and Mix PSC package – this consists of the abovementioned 3 core modules and 4 elective modules (which equates to 72 hours overall) for £1,435 plus VAT. This option is perfect for the law student who has not started the PSC at all.
As there is almost something for everyone in these packages, the high value is undeniable!
Packages for the litigators
For students aspiring to have a legal career in litigation (either civil or criminal), there is the opportunity to undertake the Higher Rights of Audience training in place of the electives. If this route sounds more like your cup of tea, then the following bargains are for you:
The PSC and Higher Rights training package – this consists of the aforementioned core modules and the Higher Rights course training (which is not obligatory but is recommended to enhance your performance upon assessment) for £1,895 plus VAT.
The PSC and Higher Rights training and assessment package – this contains the above components and assessments (a written advocacy exam and practical advocacy assessment) for £2,295 plus VAT. It is pertinent to mention that only qualified solicitors are able to take the assessment as of April 1, 2021, but trainees remain permitted to take the training.
Students selecting either of these packages should note that the legal and procedural requirements forming the content of the assessment, as well as the SRA’s own conditions, may change if taken at a later date. These were modified recently (from January 31, 2021,) so it may be unlikely to reoccur in the near future, but this is where the need to plan and weigh up the packages comes in!
It may be the case that these packages are more generous than you need, and you would get a better value for money obtaining them individually as you only need one or two.
Individual core modules – Advocacy and Communications Skills is £550 plus VAT, Client Care and Professional Standards comes to £190 plus VAT for Day One and Day Two each, and Financial and Business Skills costs £465 plus VAT.
Elective modules – any of these modules listed above costs £235 plus VAT for 6 hours.
If you were so inclined to do the calculations, you can see how much of a saving there is to be made with a bit of forward planning when it comes to the PSC.