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The Aspiring Solicitors Commercial Awareness Competition 2016/2017

CAC_Revised logoOur national Commercial Awareness Competition, open to undergraduates, graduates and career changers, is one of the biggest competitions of its kind in the UK.

In 2015/16, the Commercial Awareness Competition had over 750 student participants, spread across 200 teams, from over 60 universities.   In 2016/17, we have already had over 300 students express their interest in forming a team – we are capping our numbers at 1,000 students, so make sure to send in your application asap.

What is the competition?

Designed to develop and refine each participant’s awareness of political, economic and current affairs and how each of these impact the commercial world, the Competition will run from November 2016 to March 2017 and will comprise of five rounds.  The Competition is CV-blind, as we only assess your performance in each round, not your academic background or previous experience.

  • The first two rounds are held over the phone and test your team’s general knowledge of current affairs, with the second round delving into your understanding of sector-specific events.
  • The Quarter-Final, held in person, will be based on recent commercial news, and will be a mix of individual and team based questions.
  • The Semi-Finals are a half day event, held in London, alongside other teams. Tasks will consist of team-based presentations, with question and answer sessions at the end, designed to test your knowledge of the topic in question. There will be three elements to the day, two team based exercises and one individual exercise, in which all competitors will take part.   Questions will be based on recent news impacting law firms and their clients, plus general knowledge.
  • The Grand Final is a day-long event, held in London, alongside other teams. The judging panel will consist of partners and senior lawyers.  Tasks will consist solely of team based exercises, most of which will have a question and answer session.  All topics will be unseen and will truly test the depth of each team member’s knowledge of several different business sectors.

What’s in it for you?

Firstly, there are our prizes for the winning team

  • One week’s work experience with each of our sponsoring organisations: Barclays, King & Wood Mallesons, Mayer Brown, Dechert and one other firm. That is over five weeks’ legal work experience!  In 2016/17, King & Wood Mallesons will be incorporating an international element to their work experience.
  • A bespoke suit and shirt for each team member, courtesy of LexisNexis and A Suit That Fits

Secondly, the opportunity to impress law firms.  Every member of our winning team has since obtained a Training Contract, with an amazing 100% of the team obtaining a TC following the prize of work experience!  A significant amount of other finalists impressed our Sponsors so much, they were also given work experience or vacation schemes with them, and several of those competitors have also obtained Training Contracts.

Lastly, all of our 2015/16 finalists 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 2015/16 Finalists

“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!”  Roxanna Sarkar-Patel, Future Trainee Solicitor, Mayer Brown

“Aspiring Solicitors has created a fantastic competition, which drives students to develop skills that are directly applicable to the vacation scheme and training contract application process – an overall great experience.”  James England, Future Trainee Solicitor, Mayer Brown

“The competition prepares you for interviews, develops commercial knowledge and offers first-rate work experience opportunities to those who excel.”  James Alao, Future Trainee Solicitor, Magic Circle Firm

“I would recommend the competition to all aspiring solicitors including future trainees. You can never build too much knowledge and you can never practise enough the art of executing arguments and approaching counter arguments, as I have experienced in the competition. Chris, Gemma and Jeniz have all given me invaluable constructive criticism, which has been great preparation advice prior to attending assessment centres. I cannot recommend this competition enough!” Natalie Batra, Future Trainee Solicitor, Travers Smith

Watch the video!


Who can enter and how do we apply?

Any undergraduate, postgraduate or career changer who has not yet secured a Training Contract.  First years are welcome – in 2015/16, a team of first years got through to the Grand Final!  You would need to be based in the UK or Ireland to attend the Quarter, Semi and Grand Final.

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED. We will be in touch with all registered teams shortly.