So one of the biggest buzzwords in the legal world is commercial awareness. It is important to be commercially aware, to demonstrate commercial awareness at interview, and to incorporate this awareness into your work as a paralegal/trainee. It is very easy to shut law into a nice little box that only comes out at job interviews, as with any other job. However, the whole process is made so much easier if you actually live the law, and commercial awareness will become part of your everyday life. So here are a few tips on doing so!
- Swap music for podcasts.
I have a 30 minute commute to work in my car. Whilst usually I’d be found sat at a traffic light singing along to the radio, I have now swapped music for podcasts! I usually listen to the FT daily podcast. This gives a business overview of the last 24 hours news. They’re never particularly long podcasts but just swapping your music for a podcast, although sometimes tedious, can ensure that you are fully immersed in what is going on in the business world. If you can begin to think about how this effects the legal world, businesses and to what extent law firms may need to aid businesses within these areas, then you are even closer to being commercially aware!
- If you work part-time, get involved in the business aspect!
I work in a sales position, and therefore it is a target driven environment. I am current a senior sales assistant, which means that I have to have a look at the store’s target and work closely with my manager to ensure that as a store we are achieving it, how we can achieve it, how we can better ourselves, and what things are having a positive/negative impact on the business and general store trading. This means that I have a real understanding of how a business works, which enables me to be empathetic towards clients when working within a commercial firm, as I can see things from their perspective too. So, if you do work within a business, take an interest in the business side of things as it can fill you with lots of transferable knowledge and skills.
- Use social media to your advantage!
Social media is great for many reasons, it allows you to keep in touch with friends and family and share some of life’s most precious moments. You can also use social media to learn. I set up a twitter account for the sole purpose of learning more and immersing myself in the legal world. I followed law firms, barristers chambers, business news accounts, solicitors and barristers. This meant that the content on my Twitter feed would all be helpful to furthering my knowledge of commercial and business law and the legal profession in general. It’s such a simple thing to do but can be really helpful if you use it properly!