With 72 offices in over 40 countries, CMS is a global future-facing law firm. In 2017, CMS UK, Nabarro LLP and Olswang LLP combined in what was the largest ever merger in the UK legal industry. With UK offices in Aberdeen, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Reading and Sheffield the new combined firm, CMS, is now the sixth largest in the UK by revenue and the sixth largest globally by headcount.
Across its six core sectors of energy, financial services, infrastructure and project finance, life sciences and healthcare, real estate and technology, media and communications, CMS has some of the brightest and most creative legal minds and is committed to making sure that the training process within the firm is both productive and engaging.
Employing more than 5,500 fee-earners worldwide, it creates strong relationships with clients and staff, meaning it is looking for lawyers with excellent inter-personal skills as well as being technically strong. Linguists and STEM students are invited to apply and be prepared to work and play hard in a friendly and inclusive environment.
CMS is a new kind of modern law firm. By combining top quality sector expertise with international scale and a strategy to become progressive and technology driven, this modern and ambitious firm insists on only delivering excellence and is committed to ensuring all employees achieve their full potential.
Training contract: the two-year training at the firm includes a comprehensive induction programme that includes a week residential course at IMD, Switzerland – a top ranked business school for executive development – prior to starting and a guaranteed secondment to one of the firm’s clients or to one of its UK or international offices. The four six-month seats across the various practice areas mean that you get the chance to experience real responsibility within high-profile transactions and cases and really get to know the practice area ahead of deciding where you wish to qualify.
CMS Academy Programme: the CMS Academy is CMS’ next generation vacation scheme and it starts with one week business of law training in London. Panel discussions with clients, case studies, work simulation exercises and client visits are among the experiences that you can expect to have and though intense, it is a rewarding week where you will experience first hand the commitment from the firm to make you the best lawyer for the future. The second part of the programme includes an internship within a UK CMS office where participants gain real experience in a commercial environment.
First Steps Programme: there are opportunities for keen first-year undergraduate students as well with the firm’s First Steps programme. The programme offers an introduction to commercial law and working in a global law firm as well as skills sessions, an opportunity to shadow our fee-earners and social events.
Interview - Mirrick Koh, Interim Head of Graduate Recruitment and Development
My role at CMS Cameron Mckenna Nabarro Olswang
I oversee the firm’s graduate recruitment function (comprising all aspects of graduate marketing, assessments and selection) and the graduate development function (comprising all HR matters relating to our trainee solicitors, seat rotations, secondments etc.)
The scope of my role is similar to my role at legacy firm, Nabarro LLP; however, there is a larger number of trainees to recruit and look after day-to-day. One of the most exciting aspects of my role since the merger is the opportunity to shape the direction that our new firm, CMS, will take within the graduate market and to continue developing our on-campus brand and identity among students wanting to pursue a career with the world’s sixth largest law firm.
Apart from trying to work out what type of freshly-baked cake I should eat from our canteen, Cannons(!), the only challenge I have faced is trying to find the time to speak to as many people in the firm as possible about their views and thoughts on graduate recruitment and trainee development.
CMS post merger – committed to its trainees
Our new firm is now one of only a handful of law firms with outstanding international reach and sector expertise. We are a global firm with incredible scope to provide legal services across a broad range of clients and industries. From a more personal perspective, the firm is genuinely committed to providing its people with opportunities to grow and develop on a local and international level. We value hard work, determination and drive.
We have worked hard with all legacy firms to ensure that the transition into the new firm has been as smooth as possible for our trainees. For all trainees, there are a greater number of seats in a whole range of practice areas and an increased number of client and overseas secondments.
Our investment in our trainees’ development starts much sooner than the training contract itself. We invest heavily in our key programmes which lead to training contracts – from our First Steps Programme to The CMS Academy – our next generation vacation scheme. On both programmes, participants attend classes, workshops, simulations, panel talks and client visits to gain a real understanding of the business of law. New trainees attend a week-long induction at IMD in Switzerland and then attend an intensive Professional Skills Course at the University of Law before embarking on their training contract. The training contract is certainly not limited to one of our offices across England and Scotland – there’s the opportunity to go on a client secondment and/or one of our international secondments – I hear Rio de Janeiro is particularly popular!
The CMS Academy – a next generation vacation scheme
Our Academy programme launched in 2017 and was a huge success. We had one whole week dedicated to classroom-based learning where participants learned about the business of law. They quizzed client panellists, learned about the key issues in a three-way merger, undertook a deal simulation and attended client visits/sites across the UK (and a lot more!). The next two weeks were spent working closely with our lawyers in a range of practice areas.
The Academy provided us with a comprehensive view of the participants’ skill sets and suitability for the trainee solicitor role. I would recommend that anyone wanting to secure a training contract applies for the CMS Academy.
Do your research – our website (cms.law) and dedicated graduate recruitment site is a great starting point. There’s also plenty of coverage about the new firm in the press so make sure you understand how ambitious we are, the background to our merger and how you can contribute to the future success of our new law firm.
We want people to join us who share the same ambitions, and who are agile, embrace change, and are driven and resilient. The firm is also courageous in becoming a new challenger in the legal industry – we want people with that same determination.
Edmund Roper: The firm's recognised expertise in particular practice areas together with its sector-led approach, market-leading clients and the reputation of certain teams and lawyers fed into my decision to train with the firm. Training at a firm with industry leaders who are able to deliver client-orientated solutions to varied legal challenges involving multi-jurisdictional aspects was appealing for me.
As a legacy Olswang trainee, I found the prospect of a smaller trainee intake appealing as it would provide the opportunity to carry greater responsibility. This notion holds true at CMS. Despite an increased trainee intake, CMS trainees are still provided with ample responsibility as many matters involve smaller core teams. I have partner and client contact as well as the opportunity to engage with complex issues. These opportunities only increase with greater experience as a trainee.
In the corporate department I was exposed to transactions varying from a newly incorporated company seeking investment to a sale by a listed company. I assisted the team which advised a Munich-based technology and media company on its acquisition of several household UK magazine titles. I helped with document organisation and producing first drafts. As a litigation trainee, I have assisted with trial preparations on a case involving the contractual interpretation of an SPA and understanding the factual matrix between the parties.
Josh Kaiser: I am a legacy Nabarro trainee and I applied to the firm because of its market-leading real estate practice. Trainees have significantly benefited from the merger as there is now a full spectrum of sectors to choose from, including energy, financial services and technology.
I have a particular interest in real estate, so have targeted property-focused seats. I am currently in real estate disputes, but have previously sat in planning and real estate transactions. I have handled a real variety of work, including securing planning permission for development projects, negotiating large-scale sales and purchases, and advising commercial landlords on a range of asset management matters.
My knowledge has dramatically improved since starting my training contract. Trainees are given a high degree of ownership over matters and are required to apply a commercial approach to all work. The client interaction that I have experienced has been fundamental to developing my confidence.
The firm's expertise in the real estate sector is unique and it has been fantastic working with and learning from colleagues with such a breadth of knowledge and experience. I hope to do my next seat in the corporate department so I can experience a different element of the firm.
Charlotte Choules: The firm's ever-expanding international presence, the practice areas and sector expertise and our strong market-leading clients are some of the reasons I chose to train at CMS. CMS has 72 offices worldwide and having the opportunity to work with our international offices on fast-paced, multi-jurisdictional transactions attracted me to CMS as well as the opportunity to undertake an international secondment. As a corporate trainee I have had the opportunity to work on international energy transactions with our Spanish and Amsterdam offices and I am about to commence my next seat in energy in the Dubai office. Prior to commencing my training contract, I had two-and-a-half years' experience in banking and finance law as a paralegal at Olswang LLP. My seat in corporate has exposed me to M&A transactions in a variety of sectors including acting for one of the largest non-profit healthcare providers, the sale of a well-known cloud-based software, acquiring additional stakes in a competitive energy company and numerous transactions for a worldwide technology giant. Each transaction has exposed me to a variety of work, the opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills and autonomy to progress particular aspects of the deals.
About the firm
Address:Cannon Place, 78 Cannon Street, London, EC4N 6AF
Telephone: 020 7367 3000
Senior partner : Penelope Warne
Managing partner: Stephen Millar
Executive partner: Duncan Weston
Total partners: 1,000
Other fee-earners: 4,500
Total trainees: 130
Other offices: Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Reading Sheffield, Bristol and 64 other global locations.
Who we are: CMS is a new kind of future-facing law firm. By combining top-quality sector expertise with international scale and a strategy to become a progressive technology-driven firm, CMS delivers excellence for its clients and is committed to ensuring all employees achieve their full potential. Across its six core sectors, CMS has some of the brightest and most creative legal minds.
What we do: Our main practice areas include banking and finance, commercial, competition and EU, consumer products, corporate/M&A, dispute resolution, employment and pensions, energy, funds, hotels and leisure, infrastructure and projects, insurance, intellectual property, life sciences, private equity, public procurement, real estate and construction, tax, technology, media and communications.
What we are looking for: We have a range of graduate opportunities which are open to law and non-law students and students who are currently at university or who have already graduated. Eligibility for our graduate opportunities will vary depending on your year of study; therefore, please visit our website for further details.
What you'll do:CMS trainee solicitors embark on a two-year training contract in London, Bristol, Sheffield, Aberdeen, Edinburgh or Glasgow. Prior to starting a training contract, all trainees attend a comprehensive induction programme that includes a week residential course at IMD, Switzerland - a top-ranked business school for executive development. During the training contract, our trainees undertake four-six month seats across the various practice areas and are given responsibility within high-profile transactions and cases. There are also secondment opportunities, which include secondments to one of the firm's clients or to one of its UK or international offices.
Perks: Childcare vouchers, dental, 50% subsidy off gym fees, Interest-free season ticket loan (for travel), pension, private medical Insurance, cycle scheme. The firm offers 25 days' holiday per year and there is a holiday purchase scheme (5 days). The firm also offers critical illness cover, eye care and life assurance.
Sponsorship:Payment of GDL and LPC fees, plus maintenance grant.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: 65
Applications received pa: 3,000
Percentage interviewed: Varies
First year: £40,000 (London), £37,000 (Bristol), £24,000 (Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow), £26,000 (Sheffield)
Second year: £45,000 (London), £39,000 (Bristol), £26,000 (Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow), £29,000 (Sheffield)
Newly qualified: £67,500 (London), £49,000 (Bristol), £39,000 (Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow), £40,000 (Sheffield)
Apply to:Claudine Vega, Interim Graduate Recruitment Manager
How: Online via website.
What's involved:The process will include an online application, online test and assessment day.
When to Apply:
First Steps Programme: By 3 January 2018.
CMS Academy: By 3 January 2018.