In England and Wales, to become a professional negligence solicitor, academic preparation and on-the-job training and experience are required. These will provide the student with the necessary education and training in general law, as well as an in-depth, meticulous grasp of negligence law. Professional negligence refers to the violation of professional duty that results to harm or loss on the part of the claimant. Doctors, nurses and people in the medical field can become involved in negligence litigation when a patient sues them for providing improper care that resulted to an injury. Financial services providers, accountants, surveyors, estate agents, and solicitors themselves also at times become defendants in professional negligence or malpractice lawsuits.
Professional negligence solicitors, also called professional malpractice solicitors, do all the investigative work required in preparing for negligence litigation. They also do all the required paperwork. Afterwards, they can represent their client, but only in the lowest courts. If the case will be tried in the higher courts, a professional negligence barrister will have to do the arguing and court representation. The barrister usually works hand-in-hand with the solicitor who prepares the facts and groundwork for them.
In order to become a professional negligence solicitor, a person should first satisfy the academic requirements, which means completing a law degree. It is also possible to have a non-law degree instead, but in addition, you should pass either the Common Professional Examination (CPE) or the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), or even qualify as a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX). To obtain a law degree, excellent grades will be needed. These are usually required to gain entrance into a college or institution where a law degree can be earned.
After completing the academic requirements, the next step required to become a professional negligence solicitor is to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC). This usually requires one year of full-time study, or two years of part-time study. After this, a two-year vocational training program is completed. Then finally, a person will have to take and pass the Professional Skills Course (PSC). These steps are mandatory when trying to become a professional negligence solicitor.
In Northern Ireland, the academic requirements are a bit different. Either a law degree is needed, or a non-law degree with excellent grades, plus a reasonable amount of legal knowhow. The latter may be had by studying or by acquiring relevant legal experience such as on-the-job training. Having satisfied these academic requirements, an apprenticeship with a solicitor will have to be completed, lasting between two to four years. Afterwards completion of the requirements, a professional negligence solicitor will undergo yearly, developmental training to hone legal skills and add to working experience.