Commercial awareness. That ever mentioned yet at times completely misunderstood skill that has become such an essential component of every law student’s career application. You may have started your degree knowing exactly what this was and how you planned to improve it. Or, like me, it was the first time you had ever heard of the term in your life.
But do not let it scare you. What we often do not realise is how much we probably already know or come across day to day. All you have to learn to do is expand on it and apply it to our everyday.
– Weave it into your daily routine: Every morning before I start my day or while I am making breakfast, I make a conscious effort to read at least one up to date article from the Financial Times or catch up on recent commercial cases using commercial awareness pages on Instagram such as LittleLaw.
– Subscribe to commercial awareness emails: This is a great way to get a round up of the weekly headlines and important commercial updates. I recommend Bright Network’s email subscription.
– Join commercial awareness competitions: Throughout the year, there are several opportunities to compete in commercial awareness competitions that not only expand your commercial knowledge but also give you the chance to win amazing prizes such as week long work experiences in some of the top firms across the UK. For those members of Aspiring Solicitors, there is the AS commercial awareness competition, and open to non-Russell group universities is the yearly BIUCAC commercial awareness competition.
– Discuss the main commercial stories with others: Hearing other viewpoints about main headlines can help you develop your ability to discuss stories in interviews. If you find a story that really interests you, try to find out other perspectives – it will help to make the stories more interesting and memorable.
The more you practice, the easier it gets and the more you have to talk about in applications or interviews (common application questions ask you to discuss a recent story you found interesting in the media and how it connects or might affect the work of a firm).
Once you nail a routine, commercial awareness practice becomes second nature and far less daunting or tedious.