The ultimate guide for commercial law

According to All About Law, one of the most profitable sectors within the field of law is commercial law, where in most instances solicitors can earn over £100,000 a year. Therefore, this particular sector often attracts a lot of attention from students who are keen to work within the sector of law. 

For a successful career in commercial law, your preparation begins with your degree, along with the grades that you achieve! So, it’s important that you understand how to pursue this career path in higher education. Luckily for you, we have expert consultants who can guide you through this process.

Here at The Profs, 93% of our undergraduate students achieve a grade improvement and 89.8% achieve their university grades. So, we have an excellent history of helping students gain the necessary grades in order to kick-start their careers in commercial law. That’s what makes our expert tutors perfect to guide you through your degree and help you receive the best possible outcome.

Keep reading for expert advice on pursuing Commercial Law at university, as well as in a professional capacity!

Contents

What is commercial law?

Commercial law is a legal sector that focuses on transactional and contractual work; it encompasses a broad range of legal issues that relate to the rights, obligations, and conduct of a business. For example, if a technology company filed a lawsuit against a software developer for breach of contract, this would be handled by a commercial lawyer. Solicitors in this sector have a duty to protect clients’ businesses, draft and negotiate contracts, and advise businesses with day-to-day running. 

How to pursue commercial law during your undergraduate degree

Typically, during your first year of an undergraduate Law degree, you have core modules that you must complete. These can vary from university to university, therefore it is important to check these before you begin your course. 

Some examples of first-year modules are Criminal Law and Contract Law. It is unlikely that you will directly study Commercial Law as a module in your first year, however, some universities offer Commercial Law as an optional module in your second or third year. 

It is important to bear in mind that even if your chosen university does not offer a Commercial Law module (as many do not), there may be some other modules that you take that fall under the commercial law sector within the professional industry. In other words, undertaking modules that tie into commercial law is beneficial, provided that your main area of focus for the future is commercial law.

So, let’s break down some of your potential module options that relate to commercial law:

  • Contract Law: This concerns the formation, enforcement, and termination of contracts. It serves as the foundational structure that regulates agreements and ensures the fair exchange of promises or commitments between parties involved in various transactions, which is crucial in commercial dealings.
  • Intellectual Property Law (IPL): IPL is a branch of law that protects the human mind’s intangible creations. These creations, often called Intellectual Property, include inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, names, and images used in commerce. IPL encourages innovation and creativity by granting exclusive rights to creators and inventors for a limited period, allowing them to control the use of their intellectual creations. Intellectual property considerations are often crucial in commercial transactions and business operations.
  • Corporate Law: This focuses specifically on the legal aspects of corporate entities, including the formation, governance, and dissolution of companies. It often covers topics such as shareholder rights, corporate finance, and mergers and acquisitions. A comprehensive grasp of Corporate Law is advantageous for navigating the complexities and demands of a successful career in Commercial Law.

Aside from the modules that you undertake, it is also important to consider the university that you will choose to attend. This is because, when it comes to applying for vacation schemes, and especially training contracts, firms do tend to pay a lot of attention to the university you have attended. For example, in some firms, it may be more advantageous to attend a Russell Group university, and this is important to bear in mind during your studies.

Below are the top ten universities for an undergraduate degree in Law according to the Complete University Guide (2024):

University ranking:University:
1University of Oxford
2University of Cambridge
3UCL (University College London)
4London School of Economics and Politics
5King’s College London, University of London
6Durham University
7University of Glasgow
8University of Bristol
9University of Warwick
10Queen’s University Belfast

Here at The Profs, we are experts at helping students maximise their success rate in university applications! Do not hesitate to contact our expert undergraduate admissions team for tailored support.

For further information, check out ‘A Guide to Applying for Law’ 

How to pursue commercial law during your postgraduate degree

There are different types of law degrees at postgraduate level; some universities offer a Master of Laws (LLM) in Commercial Law. Throughout this advanced programme, you will delve into the complexities of Commercial Law, gaining a deeper understanding of legal principles such as those that govern business transactions, corporate governance, financial regulation, and international trade.

Below is a list of some of the universities that offer a Commercial Law LLM (or variations):

University: Course:Location: Entry requirements:
Birkbeck University of LondonLaw with Commercial Law LLMLondon
  • A minimum of a second-class honours degree (2:2) in Law, the humanities, or social sciences is required.
  • Other honours degrees will be taken into consideration. 
  • Equivalent international qualifications will also be evaluated.
Queen Mary University of LondonCommercial and Corporate Law LLMLondon
  • A bachelor’s degree in Law with a classification of 2:1 or higher is required. 
  • Individuals with a 2:2 honours degree in Law, coupled with additional legal qualifications or significant professional legal experience, may also be eligible.
The University of LawLLM International Commercial LawLondon
  • Applicants must hold a UK undergraduate degree with a classification of 2:2 or higher in any field, or an equivalent qualification. 
  • All students are obligated to undergo a mandatory two-week induction unless they can demonstrate the satisfactory fulfilment of either:

An LLB or its equivalent; or

at least three legal modules, totaling a minimum of 80 QCF credits, which must encompass the following:

  • English Legal System.
  • Contract Law.
  • Law of Tort.
The University of EdinburghLLM in Commercial LawEdinburgh
  • A 2:1 honours degree from a UK institution or its equivalent internationally, specifically in Law, is required. 
  • Alternatively, applicants with a degree in a related field that incorporates relevant prior study may also be considered.
University of ExeterMaster of Laws LLM in Commercial LawExeter
  • Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree with a classification of 2:2 or higher with a minimum of 57% or higher (or its equivalent) in Law, or a degree with a significant legal component.
University of BristolLLM Commercial LawBristol
  • An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in Law. 
King’s College LondonInternational Corporate & Commercial Law LLM (online)London
  • A Bachelor’s (honours) degree with a minimum high 2:1 classification in a single or joint Law degree or its international equivalent, with a final mark of at least 60% or higher in the UK grading system.
University of the West of England LLM

Commercial Law

Bristol
  • A bachelor’s degree with a classification of 2:2 or higher in Law; or
  • A bachelor’s degree with a classification of 2:2 or higher, along with a PGDL or the Common Professional Examination (CPE); or
  • A bachelor’s degree with a classification of 2:2 or higher in a related field (such as business, politics, or international relations) and/or relevant experience.
University of SheffieldLLM Corporate and Commercial LawSheffield 
  • A minimum undergraduate honours degree classification of 2:1 is required in Law or a subject with a substantial legal component, or its international equivalent.
Cardiff UniversityInternational Commercial Law (LLM)Cardiff
  • A honours degree with a 2:1 classification in Law, or an equivalent international qualification.
University of BirminghamLLM International Commercial LawBirmingham
  • A honours degree with a 2:1 classification in Law, or an equivalent international qualification.
University of ReadingLLM International Commercial Law Reading
  • A honours degree with a 2:1 classification, or an equivalent international qualification.
University of NottinghamInternational Commercial Law LLMNottingham
  • A 2:1 in a law degree, or an international equivalent.
University of YorkLLM International Corporate and Commercial LawYork
  • A 2:1 or equivalent in Law or Management (or the international equivalent).

Please be aware that this information is for the 2024 academic cycle and institutions can vary their entry requirements and degree program from year to year, so it is important to always check the universities’ websites for the most up-to-date information. 

Here at The Profs, we have been the highest-rated tuition company on Trustpilot for 7 years. So, reach out to our expert tutors to ensure that you do not fall below the entry requirements!

Thanks to our support, over 95% of the students we assist receive offers from their first or second-choice universities. For more details on how we can assist you, contact expert Master’s Law tutors today.

If you need help with your application, do not hesitate to contact our expert postgraduate admissions team and maximise your offer rate!

How to kickstart your career in commercial law

In 2021, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination replaced the LPC. Therefore, a new route to qualifying as a solicitor has been implemented.

Once you have secured a training contract, firms will require you to have completed SQE 1 and 2 before you can typically start. If you secure a training contract, they will most likely fund your SQE examinations.

You can check out our guide to the SQE.

Below is the route to becoming a solicitor in the UK:

1. Complete SQE 1 and 2.

2. Finish two years of qualifying work experience (most likely a training contract). This is where you will need to carefully consider which firms you apply to, and whether they specialise in commercial law. Some of the top corporate law firms in London are:

  • Allen and Overy LLP.
  • Ashurst.
  • Baker McKenzie.
  • Bird & Bird.
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.
  • Clifford Chance.
  • Dechert LLP.
  • Fieldfisher LLP.
  • Hogan Lovells.
  • Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.
  • Macfarlanes LLP.
  • Linklaters.

3. To practise law you must apply to the Solicitors Regulation Authority to be admitted as an official qualifying solicitor. 

Please remember you will need to undertake a conversion course (PGDL, MA Law) if you attained a non-law degree during your undergraduate course before you can begin your route to qualifying as a commercial lawyer. Check out ‘The ultimate guide to Law conversion courses’ to gain a wider understanding!

You can read ‘How to Become a Lawyer, UK’ to gain a more comprehensive understanding. 

4 tips on how to excel in commercial law 

1. Do you know exactly what commercial law is?

Before you begin a career in commercial law, it is essential to familiarise yourself with the nuances of the sector before you apply for vacation schemes or training contracts. This is to avoid the mistake of applying to commercial law firms, getting the spot, and realising that the sector is not for you.

By immersing yourself in the requirements of commercial law early on, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about your career path. This proactive approach ensures that you enter the profession with a clear understanding of its demands, increasing your chances of success in a field that requires extreme adaptability and a keen sense of the commercial landscape.

A lot of vacation schemes or training contract applications ask this question:  ‘Why commercial law?’. By knowing the ins and outs of commercial law, and what it entails you, will find it much easier to answer this question without tripping up. 

For example, you can highlight how commercial law intersects with contract negotiation, intellectual property, commerce, and trade, and how these are of particular interest to you. 

Knowing these key areas will allow you to express a genuine and authentic interest in the sector.

Wider reading can be a great way to gain commercial awareness, which is key in the legal sector, as well as a general understanding of commercial law. A useful book to check out is the ‘Commercial Law Handbook.’

Need help equipping yourself with all the necessary knowledge or want a helping hand to get to your next goal? Reach out to our expert Law tutors.

2. Do not underestimate the importance of university grades

Getting into commercial law is competitive, hence your university grades play a pivotal role in your chances of success. As a law student, it is crucial to recognise that achieving a strong academic track record is a key determinant of your success in commercial law.

So, why is this?

Once you have submitted your applications for vacation schemes and training contracts, commercial law firms will diligently look at your overall degree classification. Firms, particularly those specialising in commercial law, often set a high standard, typically looking for candidates with an upper second-class degree or higher. This isn’t just a superficial requirement, but a strong indicator of your ability to grasp and excel in complex legal concepts.

As you complete your modules, remember that firms also pay attention to your performance within each specific module, and seek individuals who showcase consistency and excellence throughout. In essence, as you progress through your studies, bear in mind that your grades are not merely numbers on a transcript. Your grades are a reflection of your potential, dedication, and ability to excel in the intricate world of commercial law.

Here at The Profs, 93% of the students we work with achieved a grade improvement during their undergraduate degree and 89.8% achieved their university grades. Above all, 98% of our students get their target grades! Reach out to our expert undergraduate tutors and postgraduate tutors today for tailored support!

3. Apply to training contracts and vacation schemes as early as possible 

A vacation scheme is a short-term internship or work experience programme that law firms offer. You can participate in vacation schemes during the second and final years of your undergraduate degree as well as after you graduate. These schemes typically last for a few weeks, and provide students with the opportunity to gain practical insights into the workings of a law firm. 

As you engage in a vacation scheme, you will tackle legal tasks beyond your academic studies, such as conducting high-level legal research, drafting documents, and attending client meetings. The primary goal of the vacation scheme is to offer you a comprehensive understanding of a law firm’s culture and practice areas while also allowing you to gain first-hand work experience, making you stand out amongst the competition.

Training contracts are a compulsory, two-year period of practical training that law graduates must complete with a law firm before they can officially qualify as solicitors. Most training contracts are typically offered by large firms that specialise in commercial law. 

You can directly apply for training contracts; however, most firms require you to apply for a vacation scheme. If you secure a spot in a vacation scheme, at the end of the scheme, you will be assessed by the firm to judge whether or not to offer you a training contract.

Note that vacation schemes can be undertaken during your degree. However, a training contract can only be completed once you have graduated. Training contracts are more competitive than vacation schemes; therefore, the application cycle can open far back in advance. For example, in 2024, firms accept applications for 2026 or 2027 training contract dates.

Reach out to our expert team today! We are here to help whether you need help gaining work experience or with law firm applications.

4. Network as much as you can!

In commercial law, networking is essential as it brings opportunities for you to thrive in your professional journey. Establishing meaningful connections within the legal community is a strategic move.

Engage actively in industry events, seminars, and conferences. Many commercial law firms such as Clifford Chance LLP, Addleshaw Goddard, Slaughter and May, and Clyde and Co LLP hold in-person events that you can sign up to attend. These gatherings are important for cultivating relationships with fellow legal professionals and mentors who can provide invaluable insights that you can leverage throughout your applications and career!

If you cannot attend in-person events, do not underestimate the power of online platforms. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn can serve as virtual spaces for networking. Actively participate in discussions, share your expertise, connect with professionals in your field, and do not hesitate to message them. 

Check out this page on All About Law where you can sign up for the latest law firm events!

We are here to mentor you. Reach out to us today for guidance on expanding your professional and academic network!

Get 1-to-1 guidance from an expert Law tutor

Here at The Profs, we are committed to excellence in all aspects of your academic and professional career. During the National Tutoring Awards 2023, The Profs were awarded as the best tutoring business, coming in first place! 

If you’re hoping to attend a top university and/or pursue commercial law at university, reach out to our knowledgeable undergraduate or postgraduate application team. With 95% of our students getting into their first and second-choice universities, we’ve proven that admissions are our forte! 

No matter your level of education or your goals for pursuing law, we’ve got expert Law tutors who can provide you with bespoke support today. We are here to maximise your success in every path, and our success stories are proof that we get the results!

FAQs

How can I excel during my vacation scheme or training contract applications?

To excel in commercial law, it is crucial to have robust knowledge of commercial awareness. Commercial awareness refers to your understanding of the business world, including current economic trends, market dynamics, and the broader context in which businesses operate. Demonstrating this awareness not only showcases your genuine interest in the field but also positions you as a candidate who understands the practical implications of legal decisions on business outcomes.

Check out the following tools to expand your commercial awareness:

Are conversion courses necessary for non-law graduates wanting to study Commercial Law?

Yes, non-law graduates need to undertake a conversion course (PGDL, MA Law) before qualifying as a Commercial Lawyer. This is a prerequisite for starting the SQE process. By undertaking the conversion course you will be on the same footing as an undergraduate student who has completed their three-year undergraduate Law degree.

What is the difference between corporate and commercial law?

Corporate law and commercial law, though sometimes used interchangeably, have distinct focuses within the legal landscape. Corporate law, often referred to as business law, is primarily focused on companies and their operations. This can include establishments, administration, and behaviour of corporations, encompassing areas like corporate restructuring, shareholder privileges, and the processes involved in mergers and acquisitions.  

On the other hand, commercial law has a broader scope, encompassing a range of legal aspects related to business transactions and interactions. It deals with the rights and obligations of businesses in their dealings with one another and with consumers, covering areas such as contract law, sales law, and the legalities surrounding the sale and distribution of goods and services.

Is commercial law difficult?

As commercial law is one of the most competitive sectors within law, it often requires a very strong academic background. Beyond academia, commercial law also requires a high level of critical and analytical skills, therefore the demands of the field extend beyond memorisation of legal principles to the ability to dissect complex demands. 

Also, commercial lawyers have long working hours compared to the other areas of law, and this level of commitment is an important factor to consider when deciding whether commercial law is the correct path for you.

Reach out to our expert Law tutors today to make sure that your academic grades do not hold you back!

How can I fund my postgraduate studies?

As it is a postgraduate degree, you are entitled to a Master’s loan. Unlike undergraduate student finance, a Master’s loan is not based on your or your family’s income, and every student receives the same amount. For example, if your course starts on or after the 1st of August 2023, you can get £12,167.

If you are applying for a master’s and you are unsure of how to fund it, consider the following options:

  • Having a part-time job during your LLM.
  • Private Loans.
  • Scholarships.
  • Bursaries. 

It is important to check out your chosen universities’ specific websites as they will be able to provide you with the most tailored and up-to-date information about the various scholarships or bursaries you may be entitled to!

Reach out to us for undergraduate or postgraduate university application support, or our expert Law tutors today. We are here to maximise your success in every path!