For many, a law degree necessitates practising law. But for those whose law careers aren’t panning out as expected, there are many other doors that your degree will open up – commercial contract management, for example! An area of business that offers a solid foundation for a long-term career in enterprise, with ample opportunity for promotion and growth.

Law graduates are well-suited to Commercial Manager jobs because of the complex nature of business arrangements. Your law knowledge will come in useful when dealing with legally binding contracts. However, your experience and skills will soon develop beyond those of a typical law graduate’s.

Huge skill development

There are lots of different parties involved in successful contract management and negotiation as a Contract Negotiator. If you enjoy people-facing roles, then you’ll thrive in CCM. Whether it’s negotiating with vendors or suppliers, or navigating internal stakeholders, your communication skills will be challenged every day.

Being able to build strong working relationships is a must-have for CCM. By developing this skill early-on in your career, you’ll stand out among other post-law candidates. Plus, it’ll help to futureproof your career. Coordinating with others and people management are two skills predicted to be in high demand in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

You’ll also gain vital business experience in a short time frame. The scope of CCM is incredibly broad. Like in law, you will review, draft and negotiate contracts, but this is only part of the story. A large a part of the role is working with your operational teams to ensure you are living up to obligations and heading off issues before they become a problem… it’s commercial.

A vital role

CCM is a vital role in large organisations. Contracts are the backbone of all businesses, so your work will have a tangible and lasting impact from the day you start. If your organisation wants to get paid, sell something commercially and market itself globally, it will need your help to get contracts in place.

More important than law?

In fact, some argue that the CCM role is steadily becoming far more important than that of a lawyer. Indeed, in the day-to-day running of a business, CCM is business-critical. In an interview with the IACCM, a General Counsel and a VP of Legal both stated that contract management will be a future direction for many qualified lawyers.

How to get into CCM

For those attracted to a career in CCM, there are requirements beyond the knowledge gained during a law degree. A good understanding of finance and risk awareness is key. A grasp of project management concepts, market and business intelligence and good communication skills are also worth developing.

Putting in the effort to break into the CCM world will be worth it though, particularly in terms of your future demand, employability and transferable skills. It will also help to transform your mindset and experience into that of an Industry 4.0 leader.

Leadership potential

Through CCM, you’ll gain exposure to the most important functions of a business. It will help you become a rounded, commercially-savvy individual with skills across the company. That won’t just improve your promotion prospects in CCM itself, but also in many other directions. Maybe even the C-Suite will come calling, thanks to the skills you’ve developed as a commercial contracts manager.