Emma Hopkins is the Founder of Commercial Awareness IQ, which you can visit here.
How did you build an audience for Commercial Awareness IQ?
‘I messaged my contacts on LinkedIn to test use the site and get a feeling of the potential demand for such a site. Appealing to your LinkedIn network can be highly effective as it is likely that you share similar interests and aspirations.
Our number six tip to improve your commercial awareness is to be more active on LinkedIn. After messaging a handful of people, I put a post out which received around 120 likes and loads of comments with contacts of contacts offering to help.’
How can Commercial Awareness IQ help students in a way that will help them get closer to landing a law job?
‘Commercial Awareness IQ provides sector focused quizzes on a fortnightly basis with the aim to improve student’s commercial awareness and help them develop a commercial interest. We have quizzes on topics ranging from the financial market to competition law. We provide a list of our ten tips for improving your commercial awareness. This includes the ‘five whys’ challenge of simply keeping a record of all your research into commercial and legal developments.
In the future, we are looking into developing the user interface to allow students to compete with others and have a score of their results saved. Alternatively, students can write the quizzes for us and we can provide the stats on how many users each quiz receives. This is a great way to evidence to potential employers your commercial interest.’
‘For non-law students like myself, I do think we need to try a little harder…’
How commercially aware do you think students should be at application stage if they’re still students?
‘The answer to this question varies hugely depending on which type of firm you are interested in and what stage of university you’re at. For non-law students like myself, I do think we need to try a little harder to demonstrate to potential employers our interest in law. YouTube can be a great starting point for non-law students to grasp a basic understanding of commercial law. I use the anatomy of a deal video to help me understand recent mergers and acquisitions.
A partner interviewing me mentioned share acquisition and direct acquisition. Whilst she kindly explained the difference to me, already having knowledge of this could help students stand out. It is always better to do more than less! It is important to have a basic grasp such as knowing the current base rate or how Brexit will change the market you’re interested in.’
‘A former senior associate at Slaughter and May first told me this!’
What one piece of advice would you give aspiring lawyers trying to develop commercial awareness?
‘My number one piece of advice to aspiring lawyers trying to develop commercial awareness would be to get a ‘commercial awareness buddy’. This is listed as number 8 on our top ten tips for improving your commercial awareness. A former senior associate at Slaughter and May first told me this! Ideally try and pick someone who is interested in similar sectors/firms as yourself. Set a date once a week and discuss the latest business news and legal developments.
For example, my friend and I spoke about changes in the function of the competition market authority to the growth in the online dating market. This is a great practice for your interview when you will likely be required to explain something in the news that caught your eye or a recent deal that the firm completed.’