Commercial Awareness

Commercial Awareness Competition

What is the Competition?

Please note that applications closed at 2pm on 1 October 2020. You will be able to register your interest for the 2021 Competition later this year.

The Commercial Awareness Competition is designed to develop and refine your awareness of political, economic and current affairs. The overriding objective of the Competition is to help diverse aspiring solicitors secure training contracts.

The Competition will begin in October 2020 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.

Full Rules and Guidelines for this year’s Competition can be found here.

Full and comprehensive FAQs about this year’s Competition can be found here.

When does the Competition start?

For the first time ever, there will be a Practice Round that everyone that has registered before the 1 October deadline can complete. This will take place w/c 5 October 2020.

Round 1, which must be completed online, will take place w/c 12 October 2020. You will be given LexisNexis pre-reading that will form part of the Round 1 assessment (5 questions out of 30) in advance of this date.

  • A PC/tablet/mobile phone with a reliable internet connection is all you need.
  • We recommend a download speed minimum of 25 Mbps per second.
  • You can test your internet speed via a Google search.

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, or a postgraduate or a graduate (whether working or in education);
  • not have secured a Training Contract offer; and
  • be based in the UK for the purposes of competing in latter rounds.

First year students are welcome and encouraged to participate.  A number of first year students have competed in the Semi and Grand Final stages of the Competition and returned in subsequent years to win.

All entrants register as individuals and Aspiring Solicitors coordinates the creation of teams for the latter stages of the Competition. This ensures the best performers reach the final of the Competition.

This will ensure that the best performers reach the final of the Competition.

Key dates

Please note that applications closed at 2pm on 1 October 2020. You will be able to register your interest for the 2021 Competition later this year.

The Competition will run from 1 October 2020 to 14 January 2021 and will comprise of five competitive rounds and one practice round in advance of Round 1 in October.

  • w/c 5 October – Practice Round (online test)
  • w/c 12 October – Round 1 (online test)
  • w/c 19 October – Round 2 (online test)
  • w/c 2 November – Quarter Finals (Zoom video call)
  • 23 – 27 November – Semi Finals (Video assessment)
  • 14 January – Grand Final (In-person, Central London – where it is safe to do so and in accordance with Government Policy)
  • Necessary travel expenses incurred for the purposes of competing will be reimbursed for the Grand Final. Please note all travel expense claims will be assessed on an ad-hoc basis and Aspiring Solicitors reserves the right to refuse the reimbursement of travel expenses in excess of the standard £75 limit if incurred without Aspiring Solicitors’ advance approval.

Further information about the travel expenses process will be communicated to entrants who progress to the latter rounds.

We recommend a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps per second. You can test your internet speed via a Google search.

What’s in it for you?

*Prizes* for the winning individuals:

  • One week’s work experience with each of our sponsoring organisations. That is a total of five weeks’ paid legal work experience; and
  • a suit for each winner courtesy of LexisNexis.

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 100% of the 2018 winners obtaining a training contract offer with a sponsoring firm! 83% of the 2019 winners secured a training contract and, on average, 90% of finalists go on to secure a vacation scheme (typically with a sponsor firm) and training contract.

Some quotes from our finalists

Arjun Patel, Commercial Awareness Competition Winner 2017/18 and Trainee Solicitor at Baker McKenzie

“No other competition in the UK will help you succeed in becoming an excellent lawyer!”

Sarah Johnson, Commercial Awareness Competition Winner 2017/18, Trainee Solicitor at Clifford Chance

“Enter the Competition to strengthen and develop your commercial knowledge, presentation skills and ability to articulate complex issues in a clear and concise way.”

David Jackson, Head of Group Corporate, Treasury and M&A Legal Barclays and judge at the Grand Final


“The quality of the candidates was breathtaking.”

Jagoda Kochan, Commercial Awareness CompetitionWinner 2019/20


“I no longer read the news, I analyse it, and that is all thanks to the Competition.”

George Kajwenge, Commercial Awareness CompetitionWinner 2019/20


“Having participated for a second year in a row, I have seen myself take great strides in developing my teamwork, networking, critical thinking and presentation abilities in a fun and exciting way.”