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Professional Support Lawyer Job Description

Written by: Evie Courtier
Published on: 6 Jul 2023

Professional Support Lawyer Job Description

  • In this Professional Support Lawyer job description article, we will address questions surrounding the role – such as “What is a PSL” and “What does a PSL do?” – and take a look at the requirements and rewards of Professional Support Lawyer jobs in more detail.

  • What is a Professional Support Lawyer (PSL)?

    A Professional Support Lawyer works in a non-fee earning role, providing expertise to other lawyers within a firm or organisation to help enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of legal services. PSL’s contribute to the overall profitability of a law firm, aiding lawyers to stay up to date with legal developments, improving knowledge sharing, and reducing potential risks. First deployed by magic circle firms, the role of the PSL has developed greatly over time.

    A PSL’s expertise and support enables lawyers to provide a consistently high standard of legal work, whilst staying on top of the latest developments in their respective practice areas.

  • What Does a PSL Do?

    The remit of a PSL job description will depend on the organisation you work for, your determined practice areas, and size of company. However, as a standard, your responsibilities will dive into:

     Knowledge Management: the primary responsibility of a PSL is to organise and manage the firm’s internal knowledge resources. By this, we mean the gathering and maintenance of legal precedents, research materials, case studies and other relevant legal information. Once collated, it’s down to a Professional Support Lawyer to ensure that this knowledge is easily accessible to lawyers, improving the efficiency of the department.
    • Legal Research: working in a Professional Support Lawyer job will require you to possess strong research and analysis skills. PSLs assist with analysing complex legal matters, providing research memos, and developing legal strategies to solve the issue in hand. You will be required to be on top of the latest changes in legislation, case law and legal trends. Alongside this, you must possess the ability to turn around in-depth legal research in a timely and accurate manner.
    • Client Support: as well as assisting other lawyers, PSLs will aid clients, keeping them up to date with industry insights, legal updates and practical guidance where necessary. Working as a PSL will see you assisting in the preparation in a range of legal documents, from contracts and policies, to compliance materials. Alongside this, you may be tasked with aiding due diligence, risk assessments and regulatory compliance matters.
    • Quality Control and Risk Management: a large part of a PSL role is conserving high standards of legal work throughout the firm or organisation. You will review and validate legal documents, ensuring compliance throughout. Alongside this, you will help identify and mitigate potential risks, reducing the firm’s exposure to liabilities.
    • Training and Professional Development: PSLs will be tasked with developing and delivering training programmes to other lawyers throughout the firm. Contributing to the professional development of the team, PSLs will organise seminars, workshops or webinars on an array of legal topics, industry trends and practice-specific updates.
    • Legal Writing and Publication: working as a PSL offers the opportunity to contribute to legal newsletters, publications and journals on behalf of the firm. PSL’s often write articles and summaries, and share insights with colleagues and clients. There’s also the chance to draft and edit a range of legal templates and practice guides.

  • How to Become a Professional Support Lawyer

    The pathway to becoming a PSL starts with obtaining a law degree. The specific educational requirements may vary, depending on the practice area you wish to work in. However, as a basic rule, you will require a law degree, and at least two-three years of post-qualification experience.

    The role of Professional Support Lawyer is often granted to those with accrued and specific knowledge within their chosen practice area. Developing expertise through experience, further education and continuous professional development will stand you in good stead.

    PSLs are expected to have refined research and writing skills. Enhance your ability to conduct research and analyse complex legal issues through the attendance to legal research and writing courses, writing workshops, and seek feedback from experienced lawyers on your performance. Alongside this, attending legal conferences and seminars will aid your networking possibilities, introducing you to experts in the field, connecting with fellow PSLs, and offering opportunities for mentorship and knowledge sharing.

  • PSL Career Path

    The career path of a PSL will naturally depend on practice area, personal preference and organisation. However, a typical career path of a Professional Support Lawyer would look like the following:

    • Practising Lawyer: PSLs often start their career as a practising lawyer within a certain practice area - developing legal skills, hands-on client work, and importantly the development of in-depth knowledge. Discover the latest Lawyer jobs on TotallyLegal to get kick-started.
    • Professional Support Lawyer: after gaining a few years of experience in a lawyer role, individuals may transition into a specific PSL role within the same firm or new legal department - a decision driven by the desire to focus on research and knowledge management.
    • Specialisation: honing in on the development of expertise, PSLs then may choose to specialise in a certain practice area or industry.
    • Senior PSL and Partner: as the career of a PSL progresses, they may choose to advance into a Senior Professional Support Lawyer role, managing a PSL team, overseeing knowledge management systems and leading training schemes. Leadership roles within an organisation are often obtained by prior PSLs, which may lead to becoming a knowledge management director, or Partner.

  • How much does a PSL Earn?

    According to our latest Salary Survey, the average salary of a Lawyer stands at £60,257. Depending on factors such as location, type of organisation and practice area, this salary within a Professional Support Lawyer role will grow with wealth of experience and specialisation. The average salary of PSLs on site ranges from £60,000 to £180,000, depending on seniority and experience.