Dec 10, 2021

Written By Shermaine Williams

PSC: what competencies will I gain?

Dec 10, 2021

Written By Shermaine Williams

A law degree isn’t the end of the story if you want to be able to practise law; there are further skills you will need to learn. A lot of the skills needed for your career are taught on the Professional Skills Course (PSC). Each module will strengthen different competencies required for your future career.

Core modules

The core modules of the PSC are those that are a compulsory part of the course, and which inform the work that you will then do within the elective modules.

Advocacy and Communication Skills is one of the compulsory core modules and will play an essential part in your career within the law. Regardless of whether you intend to work as a sole trader or as a fee earner in a multinational law firm, it will be necessary to be able to communicate effectively with people at all levels. 

It’s essential to be understood correctly, as miscommunication can potentially have dire consequences and even plays a major role in information gathering. Meanwhile, advocacy is crucial for being able to relay your client’s position. 

The client is also the focus when it comes to Client Care and Professional Standards, another core module. This section of the course will be specific to the route that you intend to take as you proceed in your career, which will enable you to choose between the following routes:

• Corporate

• Commercial and private

• Legal aid

• In-house 

This module teaches the practicalities of the law as a business within the remit of professional conduct, care of clients and management of work. 

The final compulsory module is Financial and Business Skills. Merely being able to interpret the law isn’t enough when it comes to the financial services industry, and recognising the financial services aspect of the work that you do and how financial regulation impacts on that work is essential. Not only is it necessary to understand how the financial markets work as a whole, but you will also need to know how these relate to the legal industry and what regulations apply. This module will help you to guide your clients correctly in relation to their financial matters. 

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Elective modules 

The elective PSC modules offered within this course are regularly updated to ensure that you are always provided with the most current information related to your chosen career path. The skills learned through the core modules will assist you going forward with the elective options. 

It’s prudent for you to undertake the Practice Skills electives regardless of the class of law that you intend to practice; it enhances the communication skills studied within Advocacy and Communication Skills as well as the ways in which to present an argument. These will prove useful within both personal and commercial branches of the law.

Contentious Skills electives suit those who intend to carry out advocacy for their clients for a significant amount of their time. This can be relevant in a range of classes of law, such as employment, divorce, criminal and personal injury. 

Non-contentious skills involve a range of everyday processes that can be required by private individuals or companies, from drafting a will and estate planning to company acquisitions and drafting commercial leases. Each of these non-contentious skills will have specific steps that must be followed, though they need to be adapted to the specific needs of your client and must be carried out in accordance with regulations to ensure the results are valid.

If you see yourself as a litigator, you will still be required to undertake the training to become a solicitor, but you will be able to forgo the preceding electives for the sake of the Higher Rights of Audience. The training and assessment for this elective can be completed during your training contract.

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