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What is Commercial Awareness?

Why is commercial awareness important?

If you want to be a commercial lawyer, understanding what’s happening in the business world is a MUST. This is because you’ll be advising corporate clients and they don’t expect “legal solutions”, but “legally correct business solutions”. They want you to solve their business challenges through your legal advice. If your legal advice is legally correct but commercially inefficient, it’s useless. Therefore, in order to provide commercially sound advice, you must have a thorough understanding of the client’s business, the market the client operates in and its competitors.

What is commercial awareness?

Commercial awareness isn’t about “knowing” the news. It’s about “understanding” the news. Reading hundreds of news articles is not going to help you. You must thoroughly understand the news and analyse it in your own way. For example, if you read about Covid-19 vaccine, rather than knowing that vaccine is being developed, think about what political, economic, environmental, legal, technological issues it entails.

Political – What’s the government’s role in developing a Covid-19 vaccine? How are governments in different countries cooperating or competing?

Economic – Stock markets boom when positive news about vaccines come out.

Legal – What are the regulatory requirements for vaccines? Has there been any amendments to the existing regulations to foster vaccine development? Also, developing a vaccine engages different legal practices beyond just life sciences, such as real estate and construction to advise on establishing new vaccine centres and corporate to advise on commercial arrangement between companies to enable global distribution of vaccines.

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Developing commercial awareness could be challenging. But don’t worry, I’m here to help. In my weekly commercial awareness updates, I pick one commercial issue and analyse its implications on businesses and law firms. Subscribe to my blog and get up-to-date commercial awareness analysis each week :)

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