What Does a Commercial Law Firm Do?
Most work that commercial law firms do revolves around making deals happen. These can be across all sectors and industries and are often hugely impactful (i.e the AB INBEV acquisition of Sab Miller which meant that the corporate, finance, tax, real estate and employment departments would all need to get behind it).
When applying for training contracts it is important to demonstrate experiences of leadership, teamwork, dealing with pressure, communication etc. These could be from any number of different things but are usually from outside work activities.
Commercial law firms are in a position to advise businesses on a range of commercial financing issues. This includes a broad spectrum of debtor-in-possession, equipment and other lease financing, trade finance, letter of credit financing and banker’s acceptances. They can also assist with commercial litigation.
The defining characteristic of a successful commercial law firm is the way it delivers value to clients. This goes well beyond the legal work itself, and encompasses business strategy, industry knowledge and a proactive approach to solving problems.
Clients want their law firms to think strategically and provide guidance that supports their business goals. They also expect law firms to make it easy for them to communicate and collaborate with their advisors. They are keen for their law firms to use technology to take care of low-value, repetitive tasks so that they can focus on delivering added value advice.
In addition to the legal skills commercial law firms look for in their trainees, they also want them to be well-rounded individuals with good communication and customer service. Getting involved in as many extra-curricular activities as possible while at university – from playing sport, becoming a social sec or treasurer of a society, to even working behind the bar – will be useful when you start applying for training contracts.
Training contracts are often two years long and most large commercial law firms will have you do six month seats in a variety of departments to give you all round experience before you qualify. They may also offer extraordinary perks such as a concierge service that has fulfilled requests from buying Christmas presents to helping lawyers move house.
The work that commercial lawyers do centres around facilitating deals between businesses, and it is a very exciting area to be working in. Whether you are acting for a market leading brewer who wants to buy a competitor, or a Private Equity fund which is providing project finance for renewable energy projects in Africa you will be playing a role in work that moves the world forward.
In the future, firms may need to think differently about how they foster a positive culture in their law firm. It will be important to ensure that the right balance is struck between creating a strong work environment and fostering good business.
This may be more difficult for large firms which operate a partly in-office, partly remote model. However, training systems which make it easier for trainees to observe and learn from senior lawyers are likely to be effective in this context.
A firm’s culture sets the tone for how it operates and communicates. It can also influence its success or failure. Companies with positive cultures are more productive and more profitable than those without them.
A positive law firm culture promotes teamwork and a sense of accomplishment. It can be difficult to create and sustain a positive culture, but it is worth the effort.
R Jon Robins: Diversity is a key element of a successful law firm. It should be incorporated into marketing, hiring, and client service. It is important to remember that diversity includes many factors, such as age, gender, race, and ethnicity.
A centralized tech platform offers a one-stop shop for nearly all of your firm’s internal and external collaboration. This simplifies and accelerates work flow.
Reputation has built up the smallest law firms and torn down the mightiest legal empires. It’s one of the most critical factors for any commercial law firm, so it’s important to focus on building a positive reputation.
When requesting reviews, be sure to gauge a client’s level of satisfaction. Doing so can help you avoid asking a disgruntled client to write a negative review. If a disgruntled client does leave a negative review, be sure to respond in a professional manner.
Finally, a proactive media relations strategy can help build your firm’s reputation and attract new business. This can be done through articles, guest blogging, and interviews with the press. Read more