“Who wants to be a commercial lawyer anyway”

When it comes to qualifying as a lawyer the most popular choices tend to be corporate, real estate, employment and litigation. In recent years, we’ve seen far fewer candidates qualify into the commercial space often for fear of limiting their exposure to exciting, varied and stimulating work. Apprehensions about tedious contract review, repetitive drafting, and not to mention the dreaded ‘precedent’ are all reasons behind this.

Empirically, though, it is commercial lawyers that tend to experience the fastest career acceleration because they are considered to possess such a vital and essential skill set for required for every type of businesses. Interestingly, in-house opportunities and positions within smaller, specialised boutique, law firms frequently offer junior lawyers professional platforms from which they can propel their career to the next level more quickly than their corporate or real estate peers. It seems that their greater levels of responsibility and the depth and breadth of their comparatively early exposure are just some of the reasons for this.

One of the most popular examples of commercial lawyers moving into more exciting domains is within the sports, media and entertainment space. Commercial lawyers continue to dominate this sector and competition for opportunities within it remains fierce. Generally speaking, from about three years’ PQE, commercial lawyers can expect to successfully pursue opportunities outside of the larger, more traditional, commercial law teams. Moving to a regulatory body, talent management company or highly specialised boutique sports, media and/or entertainment firm, will often offer strong commercial lawyers significant professional and developmental opportunities early on.

For this reason, most applicants will accept, if not expect, a drop in salary to move into this often very sexy and stimulating space. Of course, the work will be demanding not least because you will be expected to turn your hand to work you might have little or no experience of previously. Everything from image rights, employment contacts, agency agreements to reputation management, wealth protection and taxation are all examples of some of the legal issues that you’ll face on behalf of your clients or your in-house employer. Typically, your client profile will be demanding and whilst you may have escaped the city slog as a city lawyer, networking in the right circles at the right time will often mean attendance at media and sporting events or industry seminars and international conferences on the weekend and in the evenings.

If headline grabbing, high stakes, work is something you’re interested in, and you have a passion, background or interest in the world of sport, media or entertainment, you should seriously consider leveraging off the experience you’ve gained as a commercial lawyer in a more conventional law firm.

Why?

You’ll develop your own niche practice much sooner than you might expect to anywhere else. You’ll also enhance your peer profile much sooner than you would in a large, very corporate focused, commercial environment. You’ll make fantastic industry contacts which in turn will afford you plenty of other opportunities outside of law and practice, which is something to consider as your career matures.

At Mimoza Fleur we have some of the best industry contacts in the world of media, sports and entertainment and, we are currently working with three, top tier, sports and media entertainment firms looking for high quality commercial lawyers with excellent sports and media knowledge as well as a good business head. If you or someone you could recommend might be interested in exploring this further, please get in touch. Information about our referral fee policy can be found on our website.

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