Reading time: seven minutes
I thought now would be a good time to compile a list of resources I have consistently used these past few months to improve my commercial awareness. I found that my commercial awareness improved after making it a habit to use at least one of these resources. Of course, this is a non-exhaustive list and there are other resources not mentioned here that you might find helpful.
Financial Times, Financial News, Wall Street Journal
I try to log onto these websites at least once a week to read through the news. Make sure you check whether your university provides free access to these publications.
I usually listen to the Financial Times (FT) news briefing podcast every morning and follow up the news on the FT app.
I also signed up to receive a newsletter called FN law from Financial News. I receive updates on what law firms are doing (eg, transatlantic mergers), as well as general trends in the legal industry (eg, M&A boom).
You could sign up for the Guardian newsletter to receive a long-read list each Saturday.
The Guardian also has a weekly newsletter called ‘Down to Earth’ which features curated lists of the top climate news of the week.
I have a really short attention span, so I usually listen to podcasts to keep up with the news rather than reading newspapers. Try finding what suits you best so it doesn't feel like a chore to keep up with the news.
This podcast includes 10-minutes quick news rundowns every morning. Different expert correspondents will also be invited so you get to hear their perspectives.
I like how they draw connections between a particular news story and wider market trends. For example, there was a piece of news recently about how electric vehicle sales has grown rapidly, but they mentioned that this trend is not necessarily due to the focus on climate sustainability. The global supply chain issues could have an impact as well. For instance, the shortage of chip supplies could direct the automotive industries to direct their resources to manufacture EV vehicles and lower the production of their other non-EVs models. Hence the increase in sales.
The episodes are generally quite long (40 minutes to an hour) but this podcast invites different stakeholders of particular news and offers different perspectives of those affected. For example, during an episode on the energy crisis, you can hear from the director of a renewable energy utility company and consumers.
Podcasts can be good resources when you are researching law firms. These two podcasts also have some episodes on the key commercial practice areas (banking, finance, corporate and capital markets). It was difficult for me to understand the differences between law firms' practice areas but these episodes offer a good introduction into the practice areas and an overview of the types of task involved in these practice areas.
A podcast by the FT where the host discusses top financial/business stories. There's a series on environmental, social and governance (ESG) and an episode where an ESG sceptic versus ESG believer debate on the topic of sustainable investment.
I found the episodes really useful as a first-year law student because they offer an introduction into commercial law, as well as episodes on work experience, an introduction into legal technology and lots more!
These podcasts offer an introduction to law and legal careers. I just discovered LetsChatLaw so definitely excited to find out more about it.
Want some more podcasts inspiration? Read LCN’s ‘15 podcasts all law students should listen to’ article!
I might be biased here but this website was where I learnt about commercial law before I even applied to university to study it. Before I started university, I spent so much time on LawCareers.net to learn about what to do in my first year, and the differences between solicitors and barristers. I would say LawCareers.Net is a website for law students who are at different stages of their academics. There's something for everyone.
You should also follow LawCareers.Net Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and Twitter, and sign up for its weekly newsletter to receive advice straight to your inbox and be the first to know about events where you get to engage with law firms and build your commercial skills.
For Malaysian students KPUM (@kpum79) is an organisation which offers a platform for Malaysian law students studying in Malaysia and the UK to learn about law firms and engage with firms through different events. They offer various internships opportunities for students too.
For Singaporean students UKSLSS (@theukslss) is a society that is similar to KPUM but it provides a platform for Singaporean students in the UK to connect.
LittleLaw (@littlelawnews) offers bite-size news articles.
Success With Steph (@successwstephuk) has great reels, which I found really helpful for written applications and preparing for interview questions.
The Legal Update (@thelegalupdate) posts a roundup of deals by law firms or headline deals by certain law firms. You'll need to have a monthly subscription to access most of the articles though (it's quite affordable).
Other accounts I follow include:
I follow law firms' graduate teams on their social media as well so I can keep up with any virtual events that the law firms might organise.
I recommend following GROW Mentoring on Instagram because they always host amazing insight events. In fact, they recently hosted a Meta insight afternoon where we got to hear from the legal teams at Meta. I also attended an event last year with the legal team from PayPal Europe. Both of the events were so insightful and inspiring so definitely follow them!
There are lots of mentoring schemes available. Through these organisations, you might receive application support, workshops events, mentors and exclusive events with law firms.
Law firms' accounts are excellent resources to research law firms and keep up with what law firms are doing. They'll usually post articles regarding the current market trends and how that affects the legal sector, which I find insightful.
I found it difficult to find opportunities to practise negotiating except during the negotiation competitions organised by my university's law societies. I am someone who gets intimidated easily so I thought that a casual negotiation practice would be more helpful for me in growing my skills.
I had my first session earlier today (the day I'm writing this post) where we practised negotiating the price of a ton of apples. I learnt about new negotiation techniques and got to practice these. It was a really enjoyable experience.
YouTube is another great way to learn about the profession. Here are some accounts I watch:
I hope this list is useful! Please do share if there are any other resources that you find useful.