Interview Essentials: ‘It’s OK, Nobody Else Knows What the F*ck Commercial Awareness Is Either’

The other night I went out for a curry with a bunch of associate solicitors to Tayyabs, a restaurant in Whitechapel. Being law geeks, with little capacity for conversation outside themes like the changing legal industry and ABSs, we ended up having a wine-fuelled discussion about what not to do in a training contract interview. Diligent as ever, I wrote notes – published below.

10 Responses to “Interview Essentials: ‘It’s OK, Nobody Else Knows What the F*ck Commercial Awareness Is Either’”

      • Julie

        Thanks. I love patterned tights and also my purple tights but realise they are not suitable for interview. I don’t want my rebellious side showing! I was just wondering what the current fashion was as I have been away from the office environment for a while.

        • Tom Laidlaw

          My female colleagues who have come out of law firms recently tell me either black or flesh coloured are acceptable. I suppose it depends on the outfit…

  1. Tom Laidlaw

    For interview:
    Men – do not wear black suits, you will look like an undertaker. Navy blue or charcoal grey only. Ladies – only wear black suits.

      • Tom Laidlaw

        According to a classic 1968 study by A. Mehrabian in Psychology Today, only 7 percent of an initial impression is based on what’s said. Law is an inherently conservative profession and like all professions has all sorts of ‘unwritten rules’. This advice comes from colleagues who were lawyers in large firms. You don’t want to stand out for how you look. You have to show you know the rules of the club and can conform. Unfortunate but often true.

  2. Alex

    and the fact that lawyers are not commercially aware is the reason you need BDMs who are non-lawyers and have been allowed outside the building to go and actually talk to your clients…long may it last ;-)

  3. Shibley (@legalaware)

    I’ve never met a graduate recruitment officer or manager who could define ‘commercial awareness’ convincingly. This term has a sense of ‘emperor’s new clothes’ about it.

    Excellent article btw.

    • Tom Laidlaw

      I suppose if you really want to boil it down ‘commercial awareness’ is based on the classic line from Jerry MacGuire – SHOW ME THE MONEY. It is all about money – who are our clients and how to they make money? How do we as lawyers help them make more money? How do we as lawyers make money from our work for clients? And, crucially if it doesn’t make money for us as a law firm, we don’t do it.