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Like many industries, the corporate law profession is inarguably competitive. So, what skills can you hone in order to make sure you have the edge over other lawyers? When it comes to commercial law, there are a few essential qualities you should have to secure the clients you want.
Want to know more? Read on to find out about the nitty gritty details of what it takes to turn a good commercial lawyer into an exceptional one.
Knowing the law
It goes without saying that being intimately familiar with the law is of primary importance, no matter what kind of lawyer you are. And being a commercial lawyer, you should naturally pay particular attention to corporate law that is relevant to your firm in your area or state, such as contract law and listing rules, among many others.
Having Commercial Awareness
That being said, commercial law is an area of specialization that requires more than a rudimentary knowledge of the bare minimum. Knowing the law is not enough to land you your first job, never mind win over clients.
It’s common sense to assume that anyone wanting to hire a lawyer to protect their interests as a businessman or woman will necessarily choose someone who is well-versed in the technicalities of the law. But the lawyer who is also aware of current affairs and who has a degree of business savvy will more likely win the client over than someone who doesn’t.
In corporate law, this is commonly referred to as “commercial awareness”, and it’s part of what qualifies you to give commercial lawyer advice when consulting with clients.
But commercial awareness can’t be narrowed down to simply being aware of what’s going on in the news. While any good commercial lawyer should keep abreast of what is going on in the news (and has an opinion about particular issues), being an excellent one involves more than that.
Being commercially aware means being well-acquainted with the business world, and understanding the relationship and dynamics between the business world, politics and law within the context of society at large.
That is, as a corporate lawyer, you should be able to recognise and demonstrate that you are aware that law is not an isolated institution. This could be achieved by showing an understanding of how a particular item in the news affects the law, and vice versa.
However, it should be noted that in an interview setting, this is done by using current issues to make your point, rather than by taking ownership of the interview and randomly inserting news items to prove that you have some degree of commercial awareness.
Good work ethic
Earning a good reputation in the law profession doesn’t come easy. A lot of the time it requires you to show your willingness to be part of a team, even if it means being flexible about pitching up for a client on weekends, or offering to help a colleague. Employers (and clients for that matter) like to know that you are dependable and reliable, and have the broader reputation of the firm in mind.
Willingness to learn
When you are a corporate lawyer, your studies don’t end when you graduate. The law is an evolving organism; constantly changing. It’s up to you to stay current with its developments and keep up-to-date with changing policies, trends and new products.
Attention to detail
A great corporate lawyer should always pay attention to detail. When it comes to big business, one slip-up could cost your client big-time. Making small mistakes could mean a huge loss to your firm, and could put your reputation on the line. Paying attention to the smallest detail is a lifestyle, so you should practice it from the get-go.
Being a lawyer and a business-man
The relevance of knowledge of the inner workings of the business world doesn’t stop there. What gives an excellent commercial lawyer the edge involves adopting a business-like attitude that takes the client to the desired outcome in the most efficient way, even if it’s not what the client expects. In other words, it means adopting the mind-set of a business-man while still maintaining your role as a lawyer.