Trainee solicitor to Higher Courts Advocate
We are pleased to announce that Elliott Moulster qualified as a solicitor in April following successful completion of his training contract during his time with us as a trainee solicitor. He has accepted our offer of employment as an assistant solicitor within our regulatory department, undertaking prosecutions on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive.
Trainee Solicitor, Elliott Moulster, has sat and passed all of the Professional Skills Courses required for him to qualify as a Solicitor.
In order for anyone to qualify as a solicitor, Elliott had to undertake several years of study followed by a rigorous training process that also involved additional studies.
As a minimum, a prospective solicitor has to undertake four years of study – a three year degree followed by the Legal Practice Course.
Two year training contract for a trainee solicitor
This is followed by a period of usually two years working for a firm or organisation within the legal profession known as the training contract. There are numerous requirements that must be satisfied during a training contract. They include:
- practice in at least three distinct areas of law
- two years’ work experience across these three areas
- experience in key solicitor competencies
- undertaking the Professional Skills Courses, and
- keeping a Professional Development Diary across the two years.
In order to make sure Elliott secured a broad range of legal training, he was seconded to Nottingham Law Centre for a period of his training. His experiences at the Centre can be found here, here and here.
The Professional Skills Course
The Professional Skills Course involves continued professional development around key areas of solicitor practice. The mandatory courses include:
- client care, and
- financial and business skills.
In addition to this, a trainee solicitor must also undertake a total of 24 hours’ of courses in areas of their choosing. These elective modules can cover practically any area of law and have the benefit of giving participants a greater understanding of the areas of law in question.
Securing Higher Rights of Audience
For his options, Elliott chose to undertake his Higher Rights of Audience Qualification. This took up the entirety of the 24 hour additional training. Higher Rights of Audience are required by any solicitor who wishes to conduct advocacy in Crown Courts, aside from appeals or committals for sentence.
The process for gaining the qualification involves intensive training. Elliott took part in a four day training course in London. This taught him the rules of criminal litigation as well as provided training in advocacy techniques.
At the end of the course Elliott had to sit two exams aimed at testing the skills and knowledge that he had developed. The pass mark for the exams was at least 60%. They consisted of:
- a two and a half hour written exam based on criminal litigation
- taking part in a 30 minute viva voce. This is an assessment where answers to questions are given verbally as opposed to in writing ;
- presentation of a 15 minute court application on a legal issue such as bad character or hearsay, and
- the 15 minute cross examination of a prosecution witness who was played by an actor.
Despite some very tricky questions in the exams and a less than co-operative witness on the stand, we are pleased to report that Elliott passed all of the exams and assessment.
Work experience and careers advice
We hope that this gives an overview of the training involved in becoming a solicitor. We try and attend schools and colleges to provide careers advice where possible, and offer as much work experience to school and college students that we can.
If you represent a school or college and wish one of us to speak to pupils or students, or if you wish advice or are trying to secure a work experience placement yourself, then please contact us using the form below.