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As a recruiter, I have witnessed a significant increase in the number of professional support lawyer roles (PSLs). The roles are now considered highly important and integral to the performance of the firm which is now reflected in the career prospects and salaries currently on offer.
A PSL will be an integral part of the team, developing precedents, producing articles and training staff keeping fee earners abreast of any developments. They will also be academically capable developing new systems, brainstorming and generally assisting with day to day fee earning, researching difficult points of law where necessary.
The demand for PSLs is higher in major City firms and National law firms in the City and across the regions. In many cases there will be a team of PSLs, particularly in corporate, commercial and commercial property departments.
Most PSLs are qualified lawyers and will normally have upwards of three to four years post qualified experience. It is considered that the knowledge and experience obtained by practicing as a solicitor will make you empathise more closely with the fee earners and the fee earners are more likely to trust and respect someone from a similar background.
The hours worked by PSLs are typically more regular which makes this an attractive option. PSLs will also have close involvement with other areas of the firm such as strategy, management and marketing, gaining a reputable status.
Given that PSLs will most likely have previously worked in a highly demanding fee earning role working long hours (particularly corporate), the regular hours coupled with the variety of work and increased status makes this a very attractive option.
I am currently dealing with three PSL roles in Leeds at National firms looking for corporate and commercial lawyers with strong academics, top training at well respected City or regional firms and the gravitas necessary to work closely and advise senior management.