Commercial awareness is a buzzword that crops up on countless resources offering advice on how to get a training contract.
It’s a skill that all commercial law firms seek in their future trainees.
But what is it and how does it tie in with legal practice? How can commercial awareness benefit you and how can you develop it?
Read on for our whistle-stop tour of this crucial topic.
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Boost your Commercial Awareness
A simple definition of commercial awareness is being conscious of developments in the business world.
To have commercial awareness skills, you need to understand how and why businesses behave in the way they do. Being able to relate these changes to the legal field is a key indicator of a good solicitor.
Practising commercial law, unsurprisingly, requires good commercial awareness. You are expected to:
As part of your legal service, your clients will expect you to understand and take into account wider business considerations when working with them.
Having commercial awareness allows commercial law solicitors to demonstrate that they are aware of the latest business developments, their impact on the legal industry and the possible opportunities that they could create for a law firm.
To impress potential employers, you must invest in developing commercial awareness by showing an active interest in business affairs and, more specifically, in the business interests of the legal industry and the law firm that you are applying to join.
Commercial awareness is important for law firms because they invest a significant amount of money in each trainee solicitor. They therefore want to ensure that the trainees that they recruit have knowledge and understanding of the business world so that they can relate their legal advice to their clients’ interests.
Testing candidates’ commercial awareness is a key way of ensuring that future trainees will be able to place legal advice in the context of a client’s needs. This is why a part of your training contract interview and application form will be focused on identifying such awareness.
Commercial awareness skills don’t develop overnight. They will invariably build over time and will continue to do so throughout your legal career as industries and markets diversify and evolve.
In other words, you will never stop learning and developing your knowledge during your training as a lawyer. The important thing at this stage is to expose yourself to as much information as possible.
Read our guide on how to improve commercial awareness for some tips on expanding your knowledge.
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