the ultimate





Gwyn Day

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what is




Commercial awareness is the ultimate buzz word in the world of Law, and graduate employers are going to test your knowledge if they are to offer you a training contract or even a vac scheme. Simply put, commercial awareness is the ability to understand how businesses and industries function and how they are affected by current affairs such as geopolitics, economic data points, sector-specific structural shifts or simple company news. 


It is knowing about the latest deals in capital markets and their impact, for example, the pulling of the ANT IPO or the Siemens on-going de-conglomeration.


Being commercially aware is essential in the legal profession, as clients anticipate that their legal advisers will understand how their company works and profits and how it is positioned in its specific industry and the potential threats emerging from regulatory shifts. For example, a lawyer needs to be able to put in context current affairs, such as a major merger deal in a particular sector for a client, by understanding how that might affect the client's business in terms of market share, pricing, and other factors. Without commercial awareness, legal advice can't be optimal for a client.


Although aspiring lawyers must be commercially aware, it is a skill that is not taught in Law School and takes time and effort to develop, much like learning a new language. It might seem a daunting task at first, but consistency and commitment will get you there.

how to build 




1. Your daily dose of business

It is crucial to stay on top of news and be aware of the latest deals and developments of the market. A good way of staying up-to-date is to subscribe to free newsletters by market actors, who will send you regular emails with updates straight into your inbox. Check out our list for the essentials. 

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by Goldman Sachs

Weekly newsletter on market-shaping trends, industries and global economy news.

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by JP Morgan

Global economy perspectives, industry disruptions, and how innovation is transforming business.

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by McKinsey & Company

Extensive commentary on the future of major industries.

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by Eurasia Group

A four-day/week newsletter on geopolitics, international affairs, and how that impacts global markets.

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by Morgan Stanley

Perspectives on market disruptions, reliable research and reports of major events.


by The Wall Street Journal

A daily brief on the day’s most important events that you must be aware of – especially at an interview!

2. Follow the right people

Following inspiring professionals who report on industry news will shape your ability to 'think business' and understand different perceptions of a market trend or phenomenon.

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Mohamed Al. El-Erian

Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz

Dr Mohamed A. El-Erian is a highly influential economic thinker and best-selling author of 'When Markets Collide' and 'The Only Game In Town'

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Geoffrey Yu

Senior EMEA Market Strategist at BNY Mellon

Listen to Geoffrey’s recent perspective on Real Yields here.

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Kit Juckes

Global Fixed Income Strategist at Societe Generale

You can find some of Kit Juckes' commentary on the capital markets here.

3. Take up a new course or experience

Online courses are more popular than ever. Taking up an online course is both convenient and an excellent way to add to your transferable skills. Importantly - you'll understand how commercial awareness plays into a lawyer's day-to-day. 

by Yale University at Coursera

Legal terminology, concepts and tools are necessary to become a successful lawyer. The Law Student’s toolkit, offered by Yale University promises to teach you just that.

by Forage - formerly InsideSherpa

Virtual Vacation Scheme

Have a taste of what it’s like to work as an international transactional solicitor by doing the virtual internship offered by the firm at Forage.

by Harvard University at edX

As technology becomes an integral part of a lawyer’s work life, it is important to train yourself in understanding how it works and how it can potentially help you do your job better. A renowned course that will teach you the basics is Harvard’s CS50!

4. Reading Time

Honing commercial awareness can become a lot easier when it's broken down to simple concepts. Books are an incredible source of a thorough analysis of issues that affect commercial reality.


The Money Machine

"In this excellent guide, now fully revised and updated, leading financial journalist Philip Coggan cuts through the headlines, the scandals and the jargon to explain the nuts and bolts of the financial system."


All You Need To Know About The City

An essential guide to the financial markets for students and young professionals interested in pursuing a career in the City.


Tomorrow's Lawyers

"Tomorrow's Lawyers predicts that we are at the beginning of a period of fundamental transformation in law: a time in which we will see greater change than we have seen in the past two centuries. "

*LEGAL COMPASS does not profit in any way from the promotion of these resources. We simply think they're awesome.

gwyn day

The Legal Compass career coach. At your service. 

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A former Head Trader, Member of Mensa, Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and Trainer of Trainer in NeuroLinguistics Gwyn has over 20 years of coaching students into the world’s top universities and then onto the most competitive Graduate roles in Law, Banking and Finance and Consultancy. 


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Sepehr got a Bachelor & Master's in Engineering. He then got straight As in his Master's in Data Science. Sepehr is currently working as a junior data scientist in HR and is here to answer all your questions about technology.  

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