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British Inter-University Commercial Awareness Competition – the largest commercial awareness competition for law students in the UK

updated on 12 July 2021

The British Inter-University Commercial Awareness Competition (BIUCAC 2021) is a major national competition seeking to highlight what is seldom taught in the lecture room – legal commercial awareness. Legal commercial awareness is one of the skills tested at interviews and assessment centres and is an essential skill to become a successful commercial lawyer. It is an uphill battle for most law students who are not studying at Russell Group universities who want to work at City law firms as surveys show that approximately 80% of trainees at City and commercial law firms are from Oxbridge and Russell Group universities.

BIUCAC was founded by Mr Denis Viskovich, a former City lawyer and visiting university lecturer, and aims to “level the playing field” and provide an opportunity for law students from non-Russell Group universities to showcase their talent directly to partners of some of the world’s leading law firms! Viskovich wants to encourage more law students from non-Russell Group universities to apply to City law firms and to increase their legal commercial awareness – a vital skill aspiring lawyers must have to succeed!

About BIUCAC 2021

There are six rounds of the competition, the first three rounds are online multiple-choice quizzes. To progress to round four (to be held locally at each law school), students need to be one of the top 10 from their law school. In rounds four, five and the final round, students will make presentations and answer questions from partners of some of the world’s leading law firms. Students will research key topics that any City solicitor is expected to understand. Learning about the economy and business will both allow law students to gain a better understanding of legal commercial awareness and increase their employability.

Law firm sponsors

Sponsoring BIUCAC 2021 are 22 City law firms, with Ashurst, Fieldfisher, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP), and White & Case the main sponsors and Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters, Macfarlanes, Travis Smith and many other leading law firms as partner sponsors. More details of the sponsors and prizes being offered can be found via the BIUCAC website.

Applications to compete in BIUCAC 2021 are now open! In order to be a part of BIUCAC 2021, the student’s university law society must have joined the competition – for more details visit the BIUCAC website. If your university law society has not joined BIUCAC 2021, students should contact their university law society to urge them to join as soon as possible because places are limited. Updates will be posted on BIUCAC’s social media pages, with links to webinars covering how to prepare and the competition’s format. Exclusive events hosted by the BIUCAC sponsors will also be published on these pages.

Last year, BIUCAC 2020 became the UK’s largest commercial awareness competition, with more than 4,100 non-Russell Group university law students signing up from across the nation. Law societies from 40 non-Russell Group universities participated in the competition. A diverse range of students took on the challenge to be on the national stage. The winner of BIUCAC 2020, Sophie Milne from the University of East Anglia, thinks the competition “increased my understanding of the fast-changing business world and provided an opportunity for me to develop interests in various sectors through the research I carried out.” 

Our sponsors were equally as impressed by BIUCAC. Chloe Muir, senior graduate recruitment and development manager at BCLP says: “We have been incredibly pleased to see a number of impressive BIUCAC students engage with, apply for and secure opportunities at BCLP. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the BIUCAC competition for years to come and we hope that this relationship leads to an increase in our recruitment of diverse top talent.” 

Jayne Backett, partner in financial, markets and products at Fieldfisher concurs. “Fieldfisher has been delighted to support BIUCAC’s launch in 2020.  The competition has highlighted the plethora of talent that exists at a wider range of universities across the country. BIUCAC has put a spotlight on students outside of the Russell Group, enabling law firms such as Fieldfisher to recognise talent from a wider cross section of society – this can only be positive for the way law firms like ours recruit their graduates.”

How do contestants prepare?

BIUCAC 2021 has a how to prepare advice page on the website, including the following resources:

  • Free webinars on economic and business topics at Future City Lawyers (www.futurecitylawyers.com) and upcoming FCL Summer School;
  • All You Need to Know About Commercial Awareness, by Christopher Stoakes;
  • All You Need to Know About The City, by Christopher Stoakes;
  • The Money Machine: How the City Works, by Philip Coogan; and
  • BIUCAC 2021’s Instagram quiz.

Contestants should also keep up to date with business news and how certain events influence the economy, businesses and the legal industry. 

Three reasons to join

One: free

Everyone is welcome, no prerequisites, open to all undergraduate law students from all non-Russell Group universities (provided your law society has signed up).

Two: 22 prizes from 22 of the leading law firms in the world

The prizes include vacation schemes, golden tickets to a training contract or vacation scheme assessment centre, work experience, meetings with partners and graduate recruitment teams, trainee mentors and much more! Many of the prizes can dramatically increase your chance of success!

Three: more than just a competition

Free trainee webinars, free webinars at Future City Lawyers, exclusive insight events for BIUCAC 2021 competitors, and many other events including the British Commercial Awareness Scheme (BCAS) to be held in September 2021.

Denis Viskovich is the founder of BIUCAC. He is a former City lawyer, visiting lecturer at various law schools and has taught the Future City Lawyers Introductory Course to law students at Exeter, Birkbeck, Liverpool and other universities.