COMMERCIAL AWARENESS: Standing Out From The Crowd

In the November series of web workshops, one of the topics we looked at was ‘Commercial Awareness: Standing Out From The Crowd’. The focus of the workshop was to explore three important questions:

· What commercial awareness is

· Why commercial awareness is important

· How you get, and develop, commercial awareness.

The main aim of the workshops was to help law students to prepare when they apply for jobs (or summer placements) with law firms, legal organisations, or other businesses and to help them with interviews for those jobs or placements.

Why is this an important topic for law students? Actually, it’s an important topic for all graduates. The excellent career guidance service, Bright Network, say:

A recent survey by the Association of Graduate Recruiters* found leading firms believe commercial awareness was the number one skill graduates lacked the most.

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And the website, said this:

“For aspiring lawyers, commercial awareness is an important attribute that can make the difference between becoming and not becoming a lawyer.”

So, you can see that commercial awareness is something that law firms and employers definitely want from you.

You may hear ‘commercial awareness’ defined as knowing about developments in the business world. This is a good starting definition. But you need much more than simply knowing about business developments to impress the law firm or business you want to work for.

You can, of course, improve your knowledge about developments in the business world by, for example, reading newspapers or watching television news and documentaries. However, you must do more than simply have information. You must know what to do with it and how to use it to show that you really are commercially aware.

In the workshops, we looked at some techniques for helping you to use the information you have to impress recruiters like law firms and business organisations. If you can do this, you will certainly stand out from the crowd (which means, showing you are different to other law students and graduates who apply for jobs and posts in law and business).

As we discussed in the workshops, there are many law graduates, and they all want the same jobs and placements that you do. If you want to stand out from the crowd, showing you are commercially aware is so important. If you want to work for a great law firm, you need to do more than just know the law. You need to bring ‘added value’ to the firm and firms expect you to.

In the web workshop series that are coming up in 2021, we will make sure we offer the chance, once again, to learn something about this important topic so that you can apply for, and be interviewed for, a law job or placement with extra confidence because you know you will stand out from the crowd. We will put details of these workshops on our web page ‘Web Events’ [ ] very soon.

*The Association of Graduate Recruiters has been renamed and is now called the Institute of Student Employers. They have excellent free webinars. Its website is here:

© Cambridge Legal English Academy 2020

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