Interview Preparation: Law Firm Research and Commercial Awareness

Veronica Roberts, Graduate Recruitment Partner for Herbert Smith Freehills, said the following in a recent Lawyer 2B webcast on employability: “…another really important thing…is research on your firm. [You] have got to link that experience through to why you want to work for me at a top city law firm and you’ve really got to tailor it to the firm you are applying to…you need to tell me why…[we’ve] been involved in a case recently and you’re interested in that case because of x,y and z.” So how do you find out more about the firm and avoid just repeating information found on their website?

  • Use LexisLibrary to research cases that your target firms have been working on and find out what national and regional newspapers are saying about them. If you want to know how to use LexisNexis resources in this way then download the short User Guide.
  • You can also use Westlaw – either search for the firm’s name in the free text of the Cases page (the most recent cases they’ve been involved in will be listed at the top of your results list), or use the Current Awareness page to search for any recent mentions of the firm across the database.
  • Another option is PLC – click on the Resources tab and then Legal updates (under Current Awareness), select a particular practice area (or leave it as All UK) and search using the firm’s name. You can then choose to sort your results list so most recent results are listed first.

And according to a recent article in Lawyer2B, employers now rate commercial awareness to be as important as legal knowledge. If you want to improve your commercial awareness, start by taking a look at the SKLL and PRCT sections in the libraries. This Chris Stoakes book on Commercial Awareness is popular (in PRCT section of library).


And the following blogs/twitter-feeds are useful:




Author: manchesterlawlibrary

One of seven centre libraries serving The University of Law

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