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Commercial Awareness - what's it all about?
Law firms often stress that their lawyers (and more specifically, their trainees) need to be 'commercially aware'. This phrase can cause confusion as it means different things to different people. However, in essence, it means that commercial lawyers deal with more than just the law. They must understand their client's business and the environment in which it operates.
Commercial awareness does not the mean the same thing to a student as it will to an experienced businessperson. Nobody expects you to be a grizzled veteran of the boardroom or the shop floor; what firms are looking for is a combination of basic knowledge, interest and enthusiasm for commercial matters, and, most importantly, the ability and willingness to 'think business'.
The Commercial Question (formerly the Burning Question) is designed to help you improve on these aspects of your knowledge. Each week, a leading firm will write a Q&A designed to get you thinking about the commercial issues that the modern lawyer must contend with. Some will explore the types of issue you should be thinking about, while, in other cases, they will provide concise parcels of factual information. Cumulatively, they will leave you better equipped to join the business world.
For more detailed information on what commercial awareness means and how to develop your own skills in this area, check out the following:
- What have you been reading – Hello magazine?
- Don’t be square, be (commercially) aware
- Honing your commercial skills
And, of course, you should be reading the Commercial Question each and every week.