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Trainee blog: the professional skills course for trainee solicitors following the LPC route

This article will outline what the PSC is and highlight my experience of studying this course. I also explore some top tips on what to consider when selecting your elective modules, so that you can really make the most of the last aspects of your training contract.

What is the PSC?

The PSC forms the final part of training for trainee solicitors prior to qualifying and is required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Trainees must satisfactorily complete three core modules and a selection of elective modules of their choice – at Michelmores we undertake four elective modules.

Core modules

The core modules consist of Advocacy and Communication Skills, Client Care and Professional Standards, and Financial and Business Skills. There is an exam for Finance and Business and you will be required to attend and sufficiently contribute to the other core and elective modules in order to pass them.

Typically, Michelmores arranges for trainees to start the PSC core modules at the beginning of their training contract, prior to starting in their respective seats. This enables trainees to get to know their cohort quite quickly and helps to build their peer support networks sooner rather than later, and this has been vital throughout my training contract. In particular, my cohort helped each other work through the course materials and I found it helpful to discuss the contents of the work with my colleagues. This also helped to calm my nerves before the Financial and Business exam.

Elective modules

Trainees at Michelmores complete their elective modules in their third seat of their training contract.

Trainees will be given time off to attend the elective modules. It is therefore helpful to check any dates with supervisors, to ensure that they, and the wider team, know your availability for any upcoming work.

When choosing your electives, you are encouraged to think sensibly about what might be useful for your own development. For example, if you have already decided you would like to qualify into an area, it may be beneficial to select a course in that area to expand your legal knowledge. If you are unsure where you would like to qualify, you could select a skills-based course such as effective written communication which will be transferable to different areas.

Other options for choosing electives include building upon your contentious skills in personal injury, family, criminal and dispute resolutions. You could also pick a non-contentious course such as corporate law, commercial property, commerical law, and private client.

In my third seat, I was working in the employment team. I thoroughly enjoyed this area of law, so I selected two employment modules relating to disputes in the workplace and the employment contract. These sessions hugely benefitted me in my seat as they developed my legal knowledge and practical skills.

I chose to study a commercial module to broaden my understanding of key clauses to think about when drafting contracts.

I also chose to attend a legal technology course to expand my knowledge in this area. The legal technology course looked at artificial intelligence and blockchain technology. This course expanded my knowledge of legal technology and how automation can be used to facilitate document review. We considered the benefits of legal technology and how it can be used to help clients. I think this will benefit my future career to ensure I stay up to date with changing technology.

Disputes in the workplace

I attended the employment session at the Moorgate campus with a fellow trainee. Prior to starting the course we went for a coffee to catch up, which was a great way to start the day.

As a group, we introduced ourselves and explained where we would like to qualify in the future.  This gave me an opportunity to connect with other attendees on the course.

We listened to the tutor cover different areas of law and the potential for disputes in the workplace. For example, we reviewed unfair dismissal, redundancy, discrimination, and harassment.

Following this, we discussed how to advise clients on what steps could be undertaken to settle the disputes. This was an interactive session and we worked through different scenarios in smaller groups. My group reviewed a scenario on protected characteristics and discrimination and shared our ideas on options for the client.

Practical commercial contract drafting

I also benefitted from attending a practical commercial contract drafting course to refine my drafting skills. This course was held online. The tutor gave an overview of what to consider when drafting contracts for clients.  We worked in smaller break out rooms to practice our drafting skills. The breakout rooms meant we could meet other attendees and work collaboratively to share our ideas on how to tackle the questions. We then provided our answers to the rest of the wider group. It was a good opportunity to see how others approached drafting the clauses and to reflect on my own ideas. My final seat is a mixed seat of contentious and non-contentious work, so it has been a good reminder of what to consider when drafting a contract from the perspective of different parties.

Please note that only those who have studied the Legal Practice Course (or LPC) will need to complete the PSC and if you have studied (or intend to study) the Solicitors Qualifying Examination, then you will not be required to complete the PSC. Please contact our Graduate Recruitment team for further information about the options for commencing a legal career at Michelmores.