Congratulations! You’ve finally made it through the endless university assignments, the LPC and the never-ending applications to secure a much sought after training contract.
Despite law firm training contracts nose-diving by nearly 12.5% over the last decade, you’ve beaten hundreds, if not thousands, of law graduates to the position. But what happens next? Is that your career in law signed sealed and delivered?
Bluntly put, no. Although trainee solicitors will have already overcome a significant number of challenges to get to this point, there are still a few more steps to climb before you can qualify as a solicitor.
Understanding the next steps necessary to achieve your full career potential can be tricky. But we’re here to ease you through those final few obstacles before qualification and to ensure that they are fun, enjoyable and informative
You’re about to embark on the training contract; the next stage of the journey that will set you up in your dream career. So, what can you expect from your training contract and what further training or knowledge will you need to see you through to qualification?
Whether it is mandatory or optional, in our industry you can never have too much knowledge. For a trainee solicitor, there is one mandatory course that must be completed before an application can be made for admission to the Roll.
The Professional Skills Course (PSC) is designed to help those qualifying to develop the skills-set required of an effective lawyer. In its simplest form, it consists of 3 core modules over 8 days; Client Care & Professional Standards, Financial & Business Skills and Advocacy & Communication Skills. In addition to this, trainees must complete 24 hours of electives, of which at least 12 hours must be face-to-face tuition – however, unless your firm is prescriptive about them, which electives you choose is entirely up to you.
It’s important to note, that if you plan a career in litigation, you also have the option of taking our Higher Rights of Audience training in the place of your 24 hours of electives. Whilst you cannot appear in the Higher Courts until qualified, taking this route whilst still a trainee will arm you with the case preparation and advocacy skills needed for when you do qualify – saving you time and money in the long run.
What to look for in a PSC provider
Depending on who your training contract is with, you may find that your firm has a training provider already in place and very many firms have chosen Kaplan Altior as their preferred provider. But most firms allow their trainees to seek out their own provider. But which to choose? As the PSC is compulsory, it can be a little tricky to identify the benefits of one provider over another and you’d be forgiven for thinking that all PSCs are the same.
Whilst the content of the course is prescribed by the SRA, so pretty much the same across all providers, each provider will offer their own locations, dates, trainers and methods of delivery. They will also offer different levels of support, from the minute you pick up the phone to enquire about the PSC to the minute you receive your all-important certificate of completion.
At Kaplan Altior, we recognise that all these things are important and that is why we offer a great selection of dates and locations. Our trainers are lawyers or specialists in their fields and have a wealth of practical experience to help you understand key points in the context of your everyday working life. They are also great trainers who deliver their sessions in the most practical and engaging way to fuel your passion and keep you motivated. And the support you’ll receive from the moment you first speak to us is second to none!
So, when should you start to think about your PSC?
Even though your training contract will generally span over two years, we recommend you begin to think about and research providers almost immediately after starting, giving you plenty of time to build up a relationship with them and decide upon your dates and locations for the different modules and electives. To avoid any delays in qualifying, you’ll need to complete your core modules and your chosen electives at least 8 weeks prior to your qualification date.
How can we help?
We understand that planning, choosing and completing your PSC can be a confusing and stressful time, especially given that you will be juggling this with a potentially demanding work-load, but we can safely say that we at Kaplan Altior have made it our mission to not only give you the best experience possible, but to also help you to become the best possible lawyer you can.
With our dedication to our clients and their trainees, and our understanding of the legal sector, it’s hardly surprising that our pass rate of 98% is amongst the best in the industry. It’s an exciting time to be a trainee solicitor – let us join you on the journey.