Commercial awareness; is simply defined as being aware of how the business world operates. To have commercial awareness skills, you need to understand how and why businesses behave in the way they do on a daily basis. One would say that a lawyer with the aforementioned skills is the one who understands a particular line of business which his or her client undertakes.
For a practicing attorney or an aspiring one commercial awareness is a very important skill in the modern business world. Employers do look for a lawyer who is among others, commercially aware, thus the one who looks at things from a commercial perspective rather than completely legal.
Many employers and/or clients tend to test the aspect of commerciality in a lawyer through interviews or initial conversations, as the case may be. For a practicing advocate not being commercially astute may cause you to l lose a client and for an aspiring attorney, you might fail your job interviews.
Why Commercial Awareness Is Important
As we have noted above, commercial awareness is a comprehension of how businesses, enterprises, and corporate sectors function around the world.It is an essential skill to proficiently deliver commercial law advice and solutions for a client. Every industry has its own nuances of functioning and every legal advice has commercial implications for the client. Therefore, being commercially aware of a specific sector or industry helps a lawyer to offer unique and tailor-made solutions which are beneficial and cost-effective for the client’s business.
For law students and aspiring lawyers, commercial awareness skills can be helpful in job interviews especially when tested on the knowledge of business and law. It is essential to showcase what you have in relation to the specific industry on top of your academic legal skills.
It is important to ensure that your knowledge translates to the business you are interviewing for by showing your potential employer that you know about the company. This includes knowledge about their market, customers, competitors, and suppliers.
How to Become CommerciallyAware.
It must be noted that commercial awareness isn’t something that is taught in school or is a part of the curriculum. Commercial awareness is something that has to be nurtured and/or developed. You can develop commercial awareness by reading business newspapers or magazines. Watch or listen to the news channels on specific businesses or industries, following up on the success of many large organizations.
The other most important way of developing commercial awareness skills is to volunteer or work in a specific area of interest as a legal officer or intern so that you can learn more about that particular industry. Internships teach you a plethora of things where you can go from having zero knowledge to becoming an expert in a particular field.
On the other hand, an attorney can become commercially astute by following up on major deals taking place in the world of commercial and transactional lawyers. For example, one may follow up on social media handles of leading transactional law firms where they update their activities and deals they assist or guide clients and sometimes complement with the news from news channels and papers on how the transaction was reached as we have noted above.
For news media, it is usually recommended to signup for newsletters and email alerts. Daily, monthly, or weekly news updates based on your area of legal interests or study can be helpful to make you sound and appear business savvy to your clients and or prospective employer as the case may be.
Networking is the most important but not least tool in the legal profession. In order to develop your commercial awareness skills is essential for a lawyer to meet and chat with different kind of business professionals in his or her environment. It is not necessarily to visit people’s offices to gain the needed skills but one can make good use of friends, family, and university professors, through chats, asking questions, and casual talks.
Conclusively, for a lawyer, this is what an employer expects from you when he or she warrants a commercial awareness requirement in the job advert. New clients to a lawyer might not necessarily state what kind of a lawyer they need for their legal matter but they expect you to know each and everything about their respective business environments so as they can receive unique and cost-effective advice that is in line with their industry best practice.
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Anna Vall Navés, ‘How To Become Commercially Aware’ (All About Law,28 May 2021) <:// www.allaboutlaw.co.uk/law-careers/commercial-awareness/how-to-become-commercially-aware-<Accessed 11 August 2021.
Lynn Elesy, ‘How to develop commercial awareness’ (Grad Australia, 7 December 2020)<https://gradaustralia.com.au/applying/how-to-develop-commercial-awareness< Accessed 11 August 2021