There are several important steps you must take in order to become a solicitor, and the final part of this process is completing the Professional Skills Course (PSC). The PSC is a compulsory course, designed to build upon the knowledge and skills you have gained during the LPC, and is often completed during a period of recognised training.
By Grant Longstaff. Published 15 November 2022.
The PSC is made up of three core modules and 24 hours of elective training. The core modules are:
- Financial and Business Skills
- Advocacy and Communication Skills
- Client Care and Professional Standards
You’ll find each PSC provider offers an extensive list of elective modules, for example, we currently have over 50 to choose from. Each elective module falls into one of the following four categories:
- Practice skills
- Contentious skills
- Non-contentious skills
- Higher rights of audience
Every elective module will focus on developing a particular aspect of your skillset, so you can choose which will suit you, and your career, best.
What is the PSC exam?
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has set out how the PSC is assessed. The Financial and Business Skills core module is assessed by a 90-minute exam, with both written and multiple-choice elements. This exam is an open book exam, meaning you’ll be able to take supporting documents into the assessment with you.
For the Advocacy and Communication Skills module a personal appraisal of your skills will be carried out by the trainer.
The Client Care and Professional Standards module has no assessment element; however, it is often recommended this module isn’t undertaken until you’ve completed at least six months of a training contract. Finally, whilst elective modules must be undertaken, there is no formal assessment required for these.
Who needs to complete the PSC exam?
Completion of the PSC is generally a compulsory part of your training if you wish to practise as a solicitor in England and Wales, as it is required for admission as a solicitor by the SRA.
Why is the PSC part of mandatory training?
The PSC is the SRA’s way of ensuring a minimum standard of competence in performance, understanding and for all those dealing with lawyers. The PSC develops the essential skills required for a career as a solicitor and ensures you’re fully proficient to practice law. By building on the legal knowledge gained during your studies and work experience, it allows employers and clients take comfort from the fact that you have met a certain professional standard.
How long does it take to complete?
Different providers run the PSC in different ways. In total, however, the PSC takes approximately 12 days to complete, but can be spread out over a more extended period of time. As people complete the PSC whilst working, this structure allows candidates and firms greater flexibility. It is an employer requirement that the firm pay for the PSC and all employees time off to attend the PSC.
Both the Financial and Business Skills and Advocacy and Communication Skills modules take 18 hours, or three days to complete, whilst the Client Care and Professional Standards module takes 12 hours, or two days, to complete. When undertaking the PSC with us, each of the elective modules are run as six-hour courses, over one day.
Where do I take the Professional Skills Course?
The PSC is offered by a number of different training providers across the country, however, before taking a course, you should ensure the provider has been approved by the SRA.
Find out more about our Professional Skills Course and plan your final step towards full accreditation today.