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legal practice areas

Commercial Law

What is Commercial Law?

You might be wondering what commercial law is all about. Commercial Law is a broad term for a range of legal services designed to support businesses in making money from their products and services.

For example, Intellectual Property (IP) rights are crucial for creative industries and manufacturers to profit from innovation, sales on a domestic and international basis need contracts, and agency or distribution agreements can be made to sell the good or services more widely.

What do commercial lawyers do?

Commercial lawyers will tend to have a specialist practice area (e.g. Intellectual Property) or industry focus (e.g. Technology, Media & Telecoms). The exception to this is in smaller firms, where the term simply refers to those whose clients are businesses rather than individuals.

Commercial solicitor duties in the commercial legal sector is dependent on which area the lawyer works in, but much of the transactional work focuses on protecting each client’s business interests by managing a wide range of risks. For example, this could mean interpreting the law to decide how to protect a client against liability for claims made on their website.

Day-to-day work for a lawyer at a commercial law firm involves drawing up a wide range of commercial agreements and standard forms of words, such as disclaimers.

Skills needed to be a commercial lawyer

Commercial solicitors need strong research skills and a sense of curiosity. They need to keep up-to-date with and develop a detailed and rounded knowledge of their clients’ industry, and the factors which have a bearing on how they do business.

Attention to detail is of paramount importance as the smallest error in an agreement could be a major problem for a client’s business. Working well in a team is a key skill as larger scale commercial work involves working with other solicitors and support staff in a firm.

Why study commercial law?

Commercial law is a secure legal sector that continues to thrive and expand with our economy. Studying commercial law will not only help with research skills, attention to detail and client liaison, but will also give you the skills you need to stand up-to-date with industry news and the economic changes.

Average salary in commercial law

A newly qualified solicitor in a firm outside of the city or smaller commercial practice may expect to earn around £25,000 to £40,000. An average commercial solicitor salary in London is anything from £40,000 to £90,000 based on five years’ experience according to Reed.co.uk. For those with over ten years' experience, earnings can range from £65,000 to £1,000,000. Those based in London and bigger cities will often earn more too.

Commercial law services

If you want to know more about working in commercial law in the UK, find commercial law examples or find out more about the area of law, see:

  • Law or non-law student, read our expert advice to master legal CVs and apply for training contracts and vacation schemes with top law firms: Target Law
  • Over 160 law firms and barristers' chambers independently reviewed. The student's guide to the legal profession: Chambers Student Guide and
  • LawCareers.Net (LCN) is all about law - a comprehensive, one-stop online resource created for future lawyers and those who recruit them: Lawcareers.net

Industry publications can help you keep up-to-date with particular sectors and broad developments in business. Here are some examples:

  • News, analysis and comment from the Financial Times, the world's leading global business publication: The Financial Times (non-subscribers can view several articles a month for free)
  • The Lawyer.com is the leading website for The Lawyer magazine, bringing the latest legal industry news, insight and briefings for the entire legal profession. Find legal jobs, career advice, online webinars and digital events to progress your career in the law: The Lawyer for corporate and commercial news.
  • The latest BBC Business News: breaking personal finance, company, financial and economic news, plus insight and analysis into UK and global markets: BBC Business News

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