What does a Commercial Lawyer do?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 February 2020
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Commercial law is one of the largest segments of employment for lawyers worldwide. A commercial lawyer may work in many different areas of business, including as a corporate lawyer in the private sector or as a regulatory adviser in the public sector. When it comes to issues of commerce, patents, intellectual property, anti-trust legislation, and corporate law, a commercial lawyer will likely be a legal expert.

Becoming a commercial lawyer is a long educational process that may start as early as undergraduate training. Though an undergraduate degree in law is not required to become a commercial lawyer, those with an interest in law may want to pursue a bachelor's degree in a related area, such as communications, economics, or business. After completing undergraduate school, an aspiring commercial lawyer will usually need to take standardized tests, such as the LSATs, in order to gain admission to law school. Once law school is completed, a young lawyer may need to pass bar examinations in order to practice legally.


Training for a commercial lawyer extends beyond the classroom, however. Many need to be fluent in a variety of complex areas, such as contract law, business protocol, and government regulations. Law students aiming for a career in the commercial segment of the profession will often try to get internships or clerk jobs at commercial law firms while completing their education. This can help them gain insider insight into the workings of commercial law, as well as make important professional contacts.

A fully qualified commercial lawyer may work for law firm that specializes in business-related services. This may include crafting contracts, litigation, and bargaining with worker unions. Some may eschew a traditional law firm and serve as an in-house counsel to a particular corporation. In this job, a lawyer is responsible for ensuring that the company both behaves legally and is treated legally by other businesses. Commercial lawyers may also work for universities, non-profit organizations, and trade unions.

The public sector is another area of potential employment for a commercial lawyer. Understanding and creating business regulations, national, and international commercial law is an extremely complex process that requires top-notch lawyers every step of the way. Working with or for the government can also be an excellent job for lawyers that feel a sense of civic duty and want to work to improve the public system of business.

The world of commercial law is exceedingly complex and often controversial. Having a lawyer who can quickly synthesize, contextualize, and explain the ins and outs of business law can be a incredibly valuable asset to a business owner or board that is not well versed in legal matters. A successful commercial lawyer may be able to build an extremely lucrative career by building a strong reputation in the business community.


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