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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.

How to become a commercial lawyer?

To work as a solicitor, you can either take the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), or if you are eligible, you can study the Legal Practice Course (LPC).

If you qualify through the SQE, you will also need to complete two years of Qualifying Work Experience (QWE). To prepare for the SQE, we recommend studying one of our SQE courses, which have been designed to give you the knowledge and skills for a successful career as a solicitor.

If you’re eligible to study the LPC, you will need to get a two-year training contract with a law firm. To find out what route is right for you, see our Becoming a Solicitor page.

Once you complete your two-year training contract or QWE, you can apply to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to be admitted as a solicitor.

To become a barrister, you will need to have completed an undergraduate law degree, or if you are a non-law graduate, a conversion course, before completing the Bar Practice Course (BPC). You will then need to secure pupillage.

You can also study a Master of Law (LLM) in Data Protection and Intellectual Property, an LLM in International Commercial Law or an LLM in Company Law to give you the knowledge and skills to move into this area.

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.

Commercial law offers a wide range of opportunities to work on because it reviews the specific areas in which people trade. For instance, commercial lawyers can provide tax advice and sound contract law advice as well. So, there will always be a demand for legal professionals who want to specialise in commercial law.

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 For those with over ten years' experience, a commercial lawyer salary can range from £65,000 to £1,000,000. Those based in London and bigger cities will often earn more too. These estimations are ever changing with the landscape of the job market. Be sure to regularly check average salaries when applying for roles.

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:

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 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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