Professional Skills Course elective modules

We offer a wide range of elective modules so you can specialise in a particular field to complete your Professional Skills Course (PSC).

The elective modules give you the choice to expand on one or more of the subject areas from the compulsory modules, or you can choose a path to suit your areas of interest. Four elective modules are required to complete the PSC.

We offer the following elective modules (subject to demand):

Commercial Property – Sale and Purchase Transaction

This course focuses on the key elements of the sale and purchase of commercial properties acquired for investment purposes including:
  • readiness for sale
  • use of the Standard Commercial Property Conditions
  • standard Forms of Commercial Property Enquiry
  • buyer’s due diligence
  • institutionally acceptable leases
  • VAT (Value Added Tax)
  • reporting on title
  • insurance
  • management between contracts and completion
  • completion statement and completion formalities.

This is a practical course, suitable for any participant.

Negotiating Loan Agreements – Bank and Borrower perspectives

This course focuses on the core commercial provisions of a loan agreement:
  • the financial aspects of lending
  • the nature of bank funding; and
  • the impact of this on the documentation.

You will also look at key provisions providing lender protection and minimising credit risk that will form the main focus of the negotiation between the parties: the representations and warranties, the covenants and undertakings, and the events of default.

Particular focus will be on the differing standpoint and negotiation positions of each party.

Case Analysis and Management

This session includes a review of the management of a dispute to trial or earlier settlement using both open and without prejudice mechanisms. Topics will include:

  • drafting correspondence compliant with the relevant Protocols and Practice Directions
  • how to assess the time and costs involved in the conduct of the dispute
  • how to formulate an effective case strategy
  • the court's case management role
  • the importance of a dispute resolution strategy and its use in the context of Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) part 36 offers
  • the impact of the proposed Jackson reforms to case management
  • the tactical use of the CPR in order to gain a procedural advantage; a review of a broad spectrum of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms, how they work, when they are appropriate and the costs sanctions of unreasonably refusing ADR.

Introduction to Private Client practice (wills, Inheritance Tax and post-death arrangements)

This course looks at important matters considered in a Private Client department of a firm of solicitors whose clients have moderate private wealth.

This introductory course is for those who have not studied the Private Client elective on the LPC. You should already have prior knowledge of inheritance tax, capital gains tax and succession law encountered on the LPC.

Topics will include:

  • tax efficient wills
  • the relationship between Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax in estate planning
  • transfers between spouses/civil partners
  • outright gifts or gifts into trust
  • use of the family home in estate planning
  • gifts to charities, lifetime gifts and death time gifts
  • post-death deeds of variation and disclaimer
  • actions under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Negotiation in a Business Context

The negotiation course aims to equip trainees with:
  • an understanding of what negotiation is
  • an appreciation of their personal style and approach to the negotiation
  • the tools and techniques necessary to carry out an effective negotiation at a basic level
  • the skills to identify methods by which negotiations can be planned, conducted and reviewed
  • confidence to approach negotiations.

    In addition to a lecture on negotiation planning and techniques delegates will be given the opportunity to conduct three negotiations, one in the form of a role play, one in an amicable commercial environment and one in a hostile commercial environment.

Litigation Drafting – A Comprehensive Guide

This is a practical course designed to improve drafting skills in the context of civil Statements of Case, from Particulars of Claim to Additional Claims against Third Parties. You will:
  • analyse the ingredients of drafting and professional duties
  • discover what to include and what to leave out
  • learn tactics and persuasive drafting.

Employment Law and Practice

These two single day courses follow the life cycle of employment from recruitment through to termination taking each area of law in context, and aim to provide a practical understanding of all the key areas listed. You can attend either a single day or both to gain maximum benefit from the life cycle analysis. Attending both counts as two electives. It is suitable for those with no knowledge or experience.

Day one:
  • Recruitment issues – the legal and practical considerations.
  • An overview of discrimination legislation and Equality Act 2010.
  • Contracts of employment: Terms required by law and common terms imposed by employers.
  • Employment rights.
  • Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE): A summary of the Transfers of Undertakings Regulations and the implications for employers selling or buying businesses.
Day two:
  • Termination of employment.
  • Redundancy.
  • Remedies.
  • Managing attendance: a guide on handling absence problems fairly and within the law (including dealing with stress).
  • Performance, discipline and grievance: A summary of the legal framework and a practical guide to investigating problems and dealing with them.

Drafting Commercial Contracts

Provides hands-on practice of drafting a commercial contract (both 'blue sky' drafting and the use of precedents). A highly practical and interactive session bringing together the principles of good drafting practice and the substantive law relating to a sale of goods contract. Almost all of the session is dedicated to a practical scenario and the drafting of a suitable contract to achieve identified goals of the client.

The session acts as a refresher for some basic principles of contract law and puts the relevant law in its practical context, eg the identification and use of relevant 'boilerplate' clauses.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mediation is about resolving conflicts in the widest sense. Conflicts are not limited to litigation. All solicitors benefit by understanding the theoretical and practical skills involved in mediation not only because of its importance in many practice areas but also in order to be effective in management and client care generally.

Mediation is the most successful form of alternative dispute resolution, as a substitute for the litigation process and as the first option in many commercial, employment, family and community-related disputes.

In this interactive course, we introduce a number of exercises which enable you to experience the individual elements of mediation, culminating in a full mediation role-play which illustrates the dynamics of the process as a whole.

Effective Written Communication

This course is a practical workshop designed to improve the accuracy, style and structure of your professional writing.

You will examine the principles of effective writing, identify and remedy problems with grammar and spelling, and learn how to write with clarity and precision.

Buying and Selling a Business

Most corporate transactions involve the sale of small and medium-sized businesses which make up the huge majority of the country’s business enterprises.

This course is a guide to the practicalities involved in buying and selling the typical small or medium-sized business and an introduction to the process of the due diligence exercise, warranties and disclosures, including:

  • drafting and negotiating the documents
  • managing the small business client
  • VAT and Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) issues
  • assigning contracts
  • dealing with leased assets
  • TUPE
  • the due diligence process
  • managing warranties and disclosures.

Effective Drafting in Matrimonial Finance

The focus of this practical and interactive course will be on effective drafting in Financial Order proceedings, previously known as ancillary relief. A working case study will be used to illustrate best practice.

The course will include pleading your client's case by effective completion of the Form E; the statement of issues and questionnaires, this includes:

  • preparing for the First Directions appointment using a financial schedule and summary as required by New Practice Direction 9A
  • effective drafting of answers to questionnaires
  • preparing a letter of instruction for the Single Joint Expert
  • drafting Skeleton arguments in support of the FDR (Financial Dispute Resolution) hearing
  • effective drafting of consent orders/heads of agreements
  • preparation for the final hearing.

This course will cover different ways in which to draft these documents for both Husband and Wife.

Drafting Commercial Leases; Landlord’s and Tenant’s Perspective

This course will be run as a workshop and consider specimen clauses in a draft lease and the amendments a tenant might make. The objective is to ensure that the delegates can draft and negotiate with confidence, understand why clauses are drafted or amended in a particular way, what is really important and what compromises can be made.

Please note: This course is suitable for those who have not studied an LPC Elective focusing on commercial leases, or as a refresher.

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