Commercial Awareness

Commercial Awareness Competition

The 2018/19 Aspiring Solicitors Commercial Awareness Competition is now OPEN for registration!  The Competition will be open to undergraduates, graduates and post-graduates and we will be capping entrants at 2000 this year.  APPLY EARLY to avoid disappointment!  


Enter today!

The unique Aspiring Solicitors Commercial Awareness Competition 2018/19 is NOW OPEN for registration.  In 2017/2018, the Competition had 1500 entrants from over 80 universities.  In 2018/19 entrants will be capped at 2,000. Please apply early to avoid disappointment.

What is the Competition?

The Commercial Awareness Competition is designed to develop and refine each participant’s awareness of political, economic and current affairs, as well as the commercial impact of these developments. The overriding objective of the Competition is to help entrants secure training contracts.

The Competition will run from October 2018 and consists of five rounds. The Competition is CV-blind, which means entrants are only assessed according to performance in each round rather than their academic background or previous experience.

Who can enter?

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

  • Black, Asian or minority ethnic; and/or
  • Socially mobile (at least two of the following should apply to you: primary carer; from a low income family, state school educated; first generation to attend university; refugee or been in local authority care; and/or
  • LGBT+; and/or
  • Disabled or have a long-term health condition.

You must also be:

  • an undergraduate; and/or
  • a postgraduate; and/or
  • a graduate (whether working or in education); and
  • must not have secured a Training Contract offer.

First year students are welcome and encouraged to participate.  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?

*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 a total of five weeks’ paid legal work experience; and
  • A bespoke suit for each team member, courtesy of Lexis Nexis and A Suit That Fits.

You’ll also have the opportunity to impress law firms. In 2016/17 and  2017/2018, every member of the respective winning teams has since obtained a training contract, with an amazing 100% of the 2018 team obtaining a training contract offer with a sponsoring firm!

Meanwhile, a number of finalists impressed to such an extent that they were also offered the opportunity to attend work experience or vacation schemes. In 2017/18, several went on to obtain training contracts.

Finally, our 2017/18 entrants said the Competition was the leading initiative in significantly improving their commercial awareness. In particular, they felt the Competition developed their confidence and their understanding of how commercial law firms expect candidates to structure and articulate arguments.

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. The Competition enabled me to enhance all the skills necessary to begin a successful career in law, whilst also 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 profession 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 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!”

Enter today!