The Professional Skills Course consists of three core modules, which are compulsory for every trainee solicitor to take as part of their legal training, usually taken in the midst of a training contract.
They take up 48 hours of learning - complemented by 24 hours of elective modules - which are broken down between the following components:
- Financial and business skills: 18 hours,
- Advocacy and communication skills: 18 hours,
- Client care and professional standards: 12 hours.
These can be delivered by a range of providers - one of the prominent institutions offering the PSC is The University of Law, which can offer the course both at one of its campus locations and at your placement’s office, with a potential online training component.
Financial and business skills
This section of the core modules is made up of six elements, with the first one exempt from assessment and the five others covered in a 90-minute exam. The assumed knowledge from doing the LPC includes an understanding of Solicitors’ accounts, principles of accounting and interpreting business accounts - for a full list of the components required from the LPC specification, you should take a look at the SRA website.
The six elements that make up Financial and business skills are:
- Accounting and financial issues,
- Introduction to the marketplace,
- The regulatory framework,
- The scope rules,
- Money laundering,
- Mortgage fraud.
Advocacy and communication skills
In this module, trainees will be expected to carry over a range of knowledge over from what they’ve studied as part of the LPC exams. This would include an awareness of the skill-set needed to present and structure a convincing argument, as well as putting together a case-specific legal framework. You’ll also need to have knowledge of carrying out a factual analysis of a case and considering the strengths and weaknesses of the two parties’ cases.
The module itself will look to develop practical skills, such as questioning skills in order to conduct an examination, as well as your ability to present, whether that’s organising evidence or putting forward propositions. These won’t be assessed by an exam, but rather a skills appraisal.
Client care and professional standards
This part of the course will look to help you understand the importance of professional ethics, the importance of client care and the application of business awareness. As with the previous two sections, you’ll be expected to have brushed up on what you’ve studied in LPC, mainly regarding SRA regulations relating to practice rules and basic principles of accounts. Added to this are areas of substantive law and SRA rules regarding fee-earning conduct.
There won’t be any form of assessment for this module, which itself is made up of three elements:
- Client care and communication skills,
- Professional standards,
- Work and case management.