Commercial awareness is a vital skill for aspiring lawyers in the changing legal market

Due to increasing competition in the legal sector, it is vital for law students to have commercial awareness to be successful in their careers.

Posted: 21 March 2017

According to the Law Society, in 1980 there were 25,000 solicitors in the UK and now according to Solicitors Regulation Authority data, this number has increased to 136,596 practising solicitors. This huge increase underpins major changes in the competitive landscape for lawyers and law firms, which impacts new entrants to the profession. Currently, the Solicitors Regulation Authority is conducting an extensive consultation about legal education and training. The decisions resulting from the consultation and review will inform updated routes to qualify as solicitor or barrister called the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam.

Speaking recently to Roehampton Law School students about the current trends in the legal sector, Craig Sharpe, Marketing Manager at Darlington’s law firm in London, said: “It’s not just students who need to think about how they position and present themselves in the market and to their clients. As a law firm, the competitive market has impacted the balance between the law as a profession and law as a service or business. Law firms today are looking for trainees who already appreciate the reality of modern legal practice”.

Roehampton Law School has a ‘law in practice’ teaching method with a dedicated Law School Careers Advisor, Juliette Chase, to help students gain the qualities needed to stand out from the crowd from day one. It also prepares students to demonstrate an understanding of how the legal market is changing and how they can contribute to a law firm and the legal sector.

Head of the Law School Dr Giles Proctor said “As law firms and law students prepare for the possibility of a new Solicitors Qualifying Examination, the focus is increasingly on providing up to date and relevant law degrees which integrate the practice as well as the study of law. This is one of the distinctive features of our current programmes and a touchstone for the modules we develop in the future”.

Roehampton Law School Law Society President Stephanie Stanbridge, said, “Being a mature student myself, Craig’s advice gave me some great insight into the challenges faced by law students and some new ideas to ensure I can stand out from other applicants.”

Roehampton Law School offers undergraduate and graduate programmes LLB Law, Law and Criminology and Graduate Diploma in Law.


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