I found that the most important aspect of the application process is the research. I ensured that I utilised all possible resources in deciding which type of firms I wanted to apply to, such as hard publications, online tools, law fairs, open days and my university careers department. This allowed me to really tailor my application to each individual firm, before sending it off well before the deadline (of course).
The highlight for me was attending a client meeting along with a senior partner. I had spent a significant amount of time preparing a research note for the partner, who proceeded to reference my research during the meeting. It made me realise that the work I was doing was actually of value to the department. Other highlights were the social events, including a meal out and a bowling night. It was great to meet the trainees in an informal environment.
“The most invaluable learning experience from my time was finding out what life was like at the firm on a day to day basis.”
The most invaluable learning experience from my time was finding out what life was like at the firm on a day to day basis. Nothing else compares to the experience of actually being in the office for two weeks. It also enables you to learn about the culture of the firm and really get know the people who work there, which was crucial for me in deciding whether I would be a good fit for CMS.
My main concern was that we would not be trusted with any real work and would spend the two weeks parked at the photocopier. I could not have been more wrong. Whether it was proof reading for a trainee or conducting research for someone more senior, all the work I was given was actually useful. My supervisor would explain how my task fitted in to the wider picture of the matter, and was eager to assist if I had queries.
The nights before the group exercise and interview in the last week were pretty nerve-wracking! As it turned out, the group exercise was an enjoyable experience as you end up forgetting you are being assessed. The interview was also conducted in a very relaxed manner and the partner interviewing me went to great lengths to put me at ease, allowing me to perform at my best. I was delighted to accept a training contract offer from CMS after the scheme.