20/02/2019 Industry-specific practice areas in commercial law – an overview

Industry-specific practice areas in commercial law – an overview

Commercial law requires a certain degree of financial awareness and knowledge; however, you don’t have to specialise in finance-heavy client work. While many commercial law firms have award-winning banking and financial services, a wide variety of alternative practice areas are also available, particularly in City firms. Here are just a few examples of niche practice areas that you might want to consider.

Real estate

Real estate lawyers handle property matters, such as helping landlords with residential housing or development projects. They also benefit from a wide variety of daily tasks. As property is a relatively versatile (yet essential) aspect of many businesses, real estate lawyers often get to work with a broad spectrum of clients: from landlords and property developers to large companies and retailers. The types of law you might use when dealing with transactions and advising clients as a real estate lawyer include:

  • land law;
  • construction law;
  • planning law; and
  • contract law.

Life sciences

While it’s easy to assume that law is far removed from science, many firms now have life sciences teams that deal with science-based needs for their clients. A number of life sciences lawyers have scientific backgrounds, but it’s not a necessity. Lawyers in this field help clients in the pharmaceutical and medical industries with any legal matters – which commonly include regulation, competition and IP issues – when breakthroughs and advances are made in the sector.

Media and telecoms

For lawyers looking to add a bit of red carpet glam to their career, media law could be just the ticket! A broad spectrum of laws apply to the information we read, watch and listen to every day on our TVs, radios and the Internet. Media lawyers assist media and telecoms companies with these laws, as well as many other legal concerns. There are so many interesting laws regulating this sector (including libel), which is why it often demands practitioners with specific expertise.


Shipping is another niche sector handled by commercial firms. Like real estate, a variety of tasks and specialisms are available to shipping lawyers, including piracy, maritime accidents and purely transactional work. There are two different sides to shipping law:

  • ‘dry shipping’, which involves a lot of contractual work; and
  • ‘wet shipping’, which could entail having to travel at a moment’s notice if an accident occurs on the high seas (eg, collisions).

With shipping hubs located throughout the globe, this sector is international in scope. Further, the documentation and work involved often crosses multiple jurisdictions, making it a complex but highly engaging area of law to practice in.

For further information on these sectors (and many more!) why not browse the ‘Solicitor Practice Areas’ page on LawCareers.Net.

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