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Commercial Awareness Resources for Law Training Contract Interviews

Law Training Contract Application Specialists

Being able to display commercial awareness is vital to succeeding in the assessment process for training contracts Commercial awareness entails understanding the environment in which the law firm and its clients operate. You must understand both wider markets, macroeconomic concepts, and current affairs, as well as the more specific functioning of a law firm. To be commercially aware, you must show that you understand that you are applying to work at a business – the firm itself is a commercial enterprise. You must show that you can push the firm that you are applying to forward, through clear understanding of its business. You should try to get used to analysing businesses, as you will likely need to analyse a client’s business or its competitors at some point during an assessment centre. 

Don’t try to learn everything about topics that appear in business and finance news – this won’t be possible, and you will do better gaining a high level understanding of them. This will be sufficient for the interview.

You should develop a list of resources that work for you and enable you to efficiently and happily learn about the wider world of commerce.

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Digital Resources for Law Training Contract Interviews:

LinkedIn News & Daily Rundown: LinkedIn provides a variety of news across the platform, and this includes simplified information that you can quickly jump into to learn about what’s happening. 

Finimize: This is a free email that is sent daily to you and summarises the most important financial news in three minutes only. This is great if you have limited time and need to quickly check your emails before starting work.

Blogs: You should read a variety of different blogs. Some that are worth looking at are Inside Brexit, which covers the effects of Brexit on finance, regulation and life sciences; Matrix Brexit Hub, which covers legal developments and is developed by Matrix Chambers; and Kingsley Napley Brexit Blog, which looks at commerce and law through the lens of Brexit. It’s also worth looking at blogs which focus on the future of law or tech and law. Relevant blogs include the Future of Law blog from LexisNexis, which covers legal technology and diversity, and the Artificial lawyer, a blog that provides news and opinion on artificial intelligence and automation in the legal industry. You should also look at blogs that cover the running of a law firm (for which 3 Geeks and a Law Blog is good, covering how to run and market a firm, how to manage, and where to find resources and knowledge), and at blogs that cover human rights, for which Freshfields’ Global Business and Human Rights Blog is an insightful read.

Print Sources for Law Training Contract Interviews:

The Financial Times: The FT is the leading source of commercial news in the UK. If you’re confident in reading it and making your way around its (sometimes rather difficult and technical) language, then you will be in a great place to do well in the assessment centres.

The Economist: The Economist is a great resource to go to for commercial news, as well as some broader topics. It is much more accessible than the FT.

Forbes: Forbes covers a massive variety of topics, although it centres on commerce and finance. Its website is fast-becoming as valuable (if not more so) than its print edition.

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Podcasts for Law Training Contract Interviews:

The Economist Week Ahead: This podcast provides an overview of what to expect in the world of finance and commerce in the coming days.

The Bottom Line: This Radio 4 podcast covers a broad range of topics, centring on the world of commerce – as well as featuring some general interest areas.

Business Matters: This BBC World Service podcast provides a great overview of global business and current affairs.

The Today Program: This BBC radio program is the single most influential news program in the UK, and lets you sense the pulse of the country.

World at One: Another BBC radio program, this too provides insight into national and global news and current affairs.

Talking Business: This podcast from Gateley provides commercial law updates.

Television for Law Training Contract Interviews:

BBC News: Perhaps the simplest way to understand the current landscape, BBC News should be your breakfast companion every morning. It is generally seen as being higher quality or higher-brow than Sky News.

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