Commercial Awareness

Commercial Awareness Competition

The 2018/19 Aspiring Solicitors Commercial Awareness Competition is accepting registrations of interest.  The Competition will be open to undergraduates, graduates and post-graduates so register your interest today to be emailed about this Competition next year!


Register for the 2018/19 Competition!

The unique Aspiring Solicitors Commercial Awareness Competition 2018/19 is not open for registration. Please register your interest to ensure you do not miss out when applications open in September 2018 as we will be limiting places next year.  In 2017/2018, the Commercial Awareness Competition had 1500 entrants, from over 80 universities.  In 2018/19 we are capping entrants at 2,000.

What is the Competition?

The Commercial Awareness Competition is designed to develop and refine each participant’s awareness of political, economic and current affairs and the impacts that they have commercially. The Competition will run from October 2018 and will comprise of five rounds. The Competition is CV-blind, which means we only assess your performance in each round rather than your academic background or previous experience.

Who can enter?

You must be an Aspiring Solicitors member and should be from at least one of the following underrepresented groups in the legal profession:

  • Black, Asian or minority ethnic;
  • socially mobile (from a low-income family, state school comprehensive, first generation to attend university);
  • LGBT+;
  • disabled or have a long-term health conditions; or
  • be a carer providing over 10 hours a week.

You must also be:

  • an Undergraduate;
  • a Postgraduate; or
  • a graduate; and
  • must not have secured a Training Contract offer.

First years are welcome too – in 2017/18, we had a number of first years go through to the Grand Final. You need to be based in the UK or Ireland to attend the Quarter, Semi and Grand Final.

What’s in it for you?

Firstly, there are prizes for the winning team;

  • One week’s work experience with each of our sponsoring organisations: Barclays, Dechert, Mayer Brown, TLT, and Travers Smith.  That is five weeks paid legal work experience; and
  • A bespoke suit for each team member, courtesy of Lexis Nexis and A Suit That Fits.

Secondly, the opportunity to impress law firms. In 2016/2017, every member of our winning team has since obtained a Training Contract, with an amazing 80% of the team obtaining a TC following the prize of work experience with a sponsoring firm!

Furthermore, a significant number of finalists impressed our sponsor firms so much, they were also offered the opportunity to attend work experience or vacation schemes. In 2017/18 several went on to obtain Training Contracts.

Lastly, our 2017/18 entrants said the Competition had significantly improved their commercial awareness, their confidence and their understanding of how commercial law firms expect candidates to structure and articulate their thoughts.

Some quotes from our finalists

James Hutchens, Commercial Awareness Competition Winner 2016/17 and Future Trainee Solicitor at Dechert LLP

Entering the Competition should be the first thing on any aspiring solicitor’s checklist. I strongly believe that just knowing the black letter law is no longer good enough to forge a successful career as a commercial lawyer. What differentiates a solicitor/firm will be the ability to not just give legal advice but to combine this advice with the commercial impacts/opportunities on their client. Entering the Competition has allowed me enhance all the skills necessary to forge a successful career in law whilst being fun and creating great connections.

Timothy Neo, Commercial Awareness Competition Finalist 2016/17 and Future Trainee Solicitor a PWC Legal

The Competition has developed my ability to present about the deeper issues and challenges that face the legal industry to date and has taught me how to work with others to solve these issues in a commercially aware way. It is the most valuable Competition that any aspiring solicitor can participate in.

Roxanna Sarkar-Patel, Commercial Awareness Competition 2015/16 Winner, Future Trainee Solicitor at Mayer Brown

“Being part of the AS CAC 2015/16 consistently improved my commercial awareness and strengthened my soft skills, which allowed me to approach assessment centres and vacation schemes with confidence. As the winning team, we were awarded with work experience with the four City law firms sponsoring the competition. Ultimately, this prize of work experience gave me the opportunity to forge relationships with lawyers, demonstrate the skills I had cultivated during the competition and leave a positive impression, which undoubtedly helped me to secure a training contract with one of these brilliant firms!”