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Commercial awareness & staying up to date – where to start?

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

By Lily Edwards

You may have read our previous blog on building commercial awareness, and be wondering what’s next? You know what commercial awareness is, but how do you develop and maintain it? They key is implementing it into your everyday life and routine, and this blog aims to point you in the right direction of resources you can use to implement it into your everyday routine.

Read daily newspapers

Keeping up to date with the news is one of the easiest ways to build your commercial awareness. Being a law student, you may want a break from reading, so watching the news is always an option, too. The key is to really engage with the content and think about the impacts news can have not only on the business/firm itself, but on the industry as a whole, including shareholders, customers, staff etc. This will train you to start thinking about how the business and wider industry works.

Research law firms

Researching law firms is a really useful way to build your commercial awareness, as most firms will have an information/about section on their websites. However, a good way to stay up to date is to research deeper and find your chosen firms on sites such as twitter, or Facebook as it is likely that there will be regular updates posted. This gives you up to date information that helps you to gain a more in-depth understanding not only of the day-to-day workings of the firm, but also the way it operates and conducts business. This is also somewhat of a passive way to stay updated, as you will see updates frequently – keeping it in your brain!

Subscribe to newsletters

As well as following law firms on social media, another option is to subscribe to newsletters. This will give you more lengthy updates about the firms which you can refer back to and take notes on if you have time. The information in these newsletters is particularly helpful for you if you have interviews, as you can use topics mentioned as points of conversation. Furthermore, there are also legal blogs that you can subscribe to, such as UK Law Weekly. Doing this is a great way to keep up to date with current issues, especially if you are busy and don’t have the time to set time aside every day/week to research yourself.

Keep notes of things that stand out to you

Keeping notes of things that spark your interest is another way to build your long-term commercial awareness, as you can really solidify your understanding. This may sound time consuming, however this can be as simple as keeping a dedicated page in the notes app in your phone. Even just keeping bullet points can be a great base when you come to interview preparation and can save a lot of time, too.

Legal Podcasts & Youtube channels

Listening to podcasts is another great way to build your commercial awareness, especially if there are specific areas you want to build upon as you can pick and choose which episodes to listen to. Therefore, if you struggle to stay engaged listening to the news and reading newspapers this is a great alternative, especially as you can pause and play as you wish. Some law firms even have their own podcasts for prospective trainee solicitors, this is worth looking for when you research each firm.

Final thoughts

Building commercial awareness is not something that can be achieved overnight, it is something you will build over months and even years. So don’t be disheartened, and most of all, don’t rush it! Staying engaged is the best way to build a solid understanding, so take it at your own pace, and it’ll begin to come naturally.

Best of luck!

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