Importance of Business Law
Many people embarking on the LPC may be questioning the relevance of the business module to their planned careers. Of course, this will be of huge importance to the aspiring corporate-commercial solicitors amongst us; but what about the others?
Business law has proven itself to be one of the most relevant modules for any aspiring solicitor. It teaches us the basic skills that we need to survive in the legal industry and, what’s more, it will also teach us the skills that we will need to manage our everyday lives, such as teaching us how to calculate our taxes.
Commercial awareness is not merely a general knowledge of the current headlines. It requires us to think on our feet about how certain news could impact cities, counties and countries, as well as trade deals and certain client sectors. This is where it becomes important to be taught the basics of business law. Not only does this module teach you about the formation of businesses and the agreements that accompany them, but it also provides you with transferrable skills to enable you to analyse current affairs and understand the intricate workings of the decisions involved in them.
So, what is Business Law?
The start of the business course teaches you analytical skills to determine exactly what type of business structure is applicable to a particular scenario. Once you have the ability to recognise the different types of businesses, for example a Limited Company, you will then learn about the workings of a company and how any changes to its structure are made. You will also learn about how the decisions of large companies have the potential to affect the market as a whole. This clearly will allow you to develop your commercial awareness and have a greater understanding of economic markets.
Why is it important?
Being taught transferrable skills such as analysis and application to a given set of facts is something that you cannot learn from picking up a copy of the Financial Times and browsing the articles contained in it. Commercial awareness is one area which many people will overlook but one that will damage the prospects of moving further in your legal career.
With the current political headlines, it is becoming increasingly more important for the new wave of solicitors entering practice to be aware of current events and the ways in which these could potentially impact their clients.
As the US Presidential election and Brexit result seemed to divide nations, it is important for aspiring solicitors to be ready to enter a world of work that may quickly change direction at any given time. We therefore need to understand the ways in which these political decisions may affect our careers and clients and, in particular, the way in which the law has the potential to be altered. The key is not to merely be aware of the current commercial climate, but to have developed enough knowledge to be able to speculate on what may or may not happen in the future.
But for those of you who are aspiring to specialise in a field that is not directly business related, these skills will nonetheless, be vital to these roles. For example:-
Wills and probate solicitors will constantly be required to calculate inheritance taxes, their client may have shares in a business that will be left to a family member on death, or they may have other assets that you will need to find a value for in the current economic climate. This is made easier after having undertaken the business law module.
Conveyancing solicitors will be required to calculate stamp duty land taxes and understand the reasons behind any new rules regarding these. They will need to understand the capital gains tax rules and procedures and keep on top of any changes or fluctuations in the housing market.
Understanding the current economic climate and having a good knowledge of current issues will be essential for training contract interviews. Being able to demonstrate your awareness for the economy will stand you in good stead with any potential interviewers, and many training contract applications will ask you to present some knowledge on the ways in which their firm may bring in clients and grow their business.
It is likely that no matter which discipline you wish to specialise in, business law and the basic principles it covers will never fail to crop up. If we fail to prepare now, it may have an impact on the opportunities that we are offered further down the line. It is important to make a conscious effort to absorb information about current commercial news and any relevant matters that have the potential to change the way in which we may practice.
It isn’t only business law that will be relevant to expending our knowledge and understanding of the way in which current affairs are handled. Keeping up to date with proposed statutes, whether newly enforced or amendments to dated ones, will also demonstrate a drive to read outside of your particular field of interest.
Training principles are looking for candidates who not only have the academic qualifications required, but who also have a little something extra. Commercial awareness is essential, but most recently, a training principle confirmed that he was particularly interested by candidates who had done something out of the ordinary; for example, working in a factory, having a “non-typical” A-level, speaking another language. Try and find something that will set you aside from the rest of the candidates, firstly to show that you are more than just an academic, but secondly, to give the interviewer something to remember you by, no matter how big or small you deem your achievement to be.
Always be prepared to answer any questions given to you. You can keep up to date with our commercial awareness newsletter, featuring sector analyses and top headlines, by signing up in the box to the left.