The role of Professional Support Lawyer (PSL) was established more than 10 years ago and utilised the skills of lawyers looking for reduced hours (often female lawyers). Support work is now a career in its own right, and PSL's may even achieve partnership in law firms. Most PSL's play a part in a firm-wide support function, while others join specialist departments such as corporate and commercial property. New areas of work now include support for IT projects.
The PSL role may also include new firm-wide role elements such as:
- Know-how, precedents and standard forms: drafting, updating, managing and disseminating documents, setting up or dealing with online document systems.
- Research: analysing new law and practice, researching points of law or directing fee earners to appropriate sources.
- Training: organising internal lectures or seminars for trainees, solicitors groups or firm-wide. Dealing with external training, building up relationships with speakers and event-support.
- Marketing and business development: producing newsletters for clients, arranging or assisting in marketing events, arranging client seminars.
- Information technology: working on IT-specific projects such as setting up internet dealrooms, creating and updating websites, developing a firm's information/knowledge base and/or Intranet.
- Dealing with fee earner enquiries: answering queries relating to maintained information, new areas of law, and complex areas of law / specialisms.
Professional Support is now an established career with several options:
- Partnership - numerous firms in the City have partners who are PSLs.
- PSL Innovation - setting up a support function in a law firm or legal department which does not yet have one.
- Knowledge management - developing a centralised knowledge system for a law firm or legal deparment.