Becoming a
Commercial Lawyer

Welcome to Baker McKenzie’s guide to starting a career in commercial law. Here is where you’ll find helpful information and tips on finding work placements and securing a Training Contract, so you can make an educated choice about your future.

Whether you’ve just completed your GCSEs or you’re studying for your Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), this handy tool will give you guidance on what you need to consider at each stage of your academic career.

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Career paths

There are many ways you can become a world-class Commercial Lawyer. This illustration shows the most common routes law and non-law graduates take.

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Expect wide-reaching experiences

“When you join Baker McKenzie, you open up all sorts of possibilities for your future both because of the breadth of the work and the firm’s global presence.”

Nicholas Parker
Trainee Solicitor

There were a few reasons why I wanted to join Baker McKenzie. The biggest one was the fact it’s global. When I applied to undertake the Vacation Scheme, I was living and working in Asia and the fact that there’s scope to undertake international secondments here really appealed to me.

I also liked that the firm really gets diversity – and not just in the most obvious ways. I took an unconventional route into law having initially worked in China as a Teacher, then as a Journalist in Hong Kong before investing in a law conversion course. Baker McKenzie sees difference as a strength, and I knew after my time on the Vacation Scheme that this was a firm in which I really could be myself.

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Since I started as a Trainee Solicitor, I’ve joined BakerEthnicity which is one of many different networks focused on promoting diversity. I’ve also been able to take on pro bono cases, including some work for the United Nations. The focus on diversity extends the scope of what you can do here.

The training and support are excellent – the Associates and Partners are always happy to help and the culture is very non-hierarchical. I have a lot of responsibility and deal with clients and colleagues in other jurisdictions on a daily basis. When you’re immersed in what you’re doing, you don’t always appreciate the scope of it but then you take a step back and realise how much you’ve achieved. I’ve already helped to close a multibillion US dollar deal and I’m only three months in.

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How many trainee solicitors who train with the firm stay in the longer-term?

93%

1-2 years post-qualification

71%

3-5 years post-qualification

56%

5 years post-qualification

Day-to-day work

We believe in involving our Trainee Solicitors in live work from the very start, so after a couple of weeks of training you should find yourself equipped with everything you need to start making an immediate contribution. In each seat you’ll have a supervisor who acts as your work provider and mentor, and a Trainee Partner who will be responsible for overseeing your progress. You can expect to:

  • Conduct research for client pitches or projects
  • Liaise directly with clients
  • Write blog posts and articles
  • Sit-in on client meetings
  • Prepare agreements, deeds, contracts and other legal documents

Life after training

We invest heavily in our Trainee Solicitors and our aim is to maximise retention of the best talent in-line with the needs of our business.

In 2020 we retained 82% of our Trainee Solicitors on qualification in March and September.

82%