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Business Acumen

08.01.07 "business acumen" - what's it all about?
This term comes up quite often in legal job interviews, whether for training contracts or qualified solicitor roles. But what exactly does it mean? In reality, not a lot!
The usual question is along the lines of "can you give an example of when you have had to demonstrate business acumen in a legal, commercial setting or otherwise". You then start to waffle about your student days and when you saved the hang gliding club 30p by introducing more efficient advertising on the student boards!
What the law firms are looking for (we think) are demonstrations where you have understand the reality of the legal profession. The law is all about money - law firms are there to make money, and to gain business acumen you simply have to understand this fact - it is not a dirty word, nor is it some sort of immoral side to the business. The reality is that law firms, partners, solicitors and assistant solicitors together with any other fee earners are exactly that - fee earners. When they work on a case, they are generating income. Have a read of John Grisham "The Firm" to understand this further - it will help you answer the question I think. If you have never had any involvement in running a business before, it is probably worth thinking about it now - setting up a business is one of the best ways to gain an understanding as to what it is all about!
Jonathan Fagan - MD - UK's No.1 online legal recruitment agency for all jobs in law.


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