8.6 /10 343 reviews
Opportunities Offered:
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
Legal/Law Corporate Law Employment Law Banking and Finance Law Private Client Law Environmental Law Intellectual Property Law Property Law Sports and Media Law Tax Law

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About CMS

With 72 offices in over 40 countries, CMS is a truly global law firm. In 2017, CMS UK, Nabarro LLP and Olswang LLP combined in what was the largest ever merger in the UK legal industry. The new combined firm, CMS, is now the 6th largest in the UK by revenue and the 6th largest globally by headcount.

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 of Energy, Financial Services, Infrastructure and Project Finance, Lifesciences and Healthcare, Real Estate and Technology, Media and Communications, CMS has some of the brightest and most creative legal minds. Its lawyers are immersed in the client's’ worlds, are genuine experts in their fields and knowledgeable about the issues that lie ahead.

The firm is modern and ambitious: employing more than 5,500 fee earners worldwide it creates strong relationships with clients and staff, meaning it is looking for lawyers with excellent personal skills as well as being technically strong. In return, CMS offers world-class training and development opportunities.

What we do

Our main practice areas include Banking & Finance, Commercial, Competition & EU, Consumer Products, Corporate/M&A, Dispute Resolution, Employment & Pensions, Energy, Funds, Hotels & Leisure, Infrastructure & Projects, Insurance, Intellectual Property, Life Sciences, Private Equity, Public Procurement, Real Estate & Construction, Tax, Technology, Media and Communications.

Training contract

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.

During the training contract, our trainees undertake four six-month seats across the various practice areas and 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.

Work Experience

The CMS Academy is CMS’s next-generation vacation scheme starting with innovative leadership development training in London. This comprises panel discussions with clients, case studies, work simulation exercises and client visits amongst other things! It is an intense but fully 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 a two-week internship within one of our UK offices. Participants gain real experience in a commercial environment and develop skills needed to succeed as a trainee solicitor at a modern future-facing law firm. A supervisor and buddy will be your main point of contact and will provide high quality work which will give you an accurate insight into the work of a trainee solicitor. Each student is paid £350 per week.

First year opportunities

Our First Steps programme offers an introduction to commercial law and working in a global future-facing law firm. The one-week programme comprises an introduction to CMS, skills sessions and an opportunity to shadow our fee earners. A case study and social events will both enhance your technical skills, interpersonal skills and networking skills.

Attending our First Steps programme will put you in a strong position to apply for any of our other graduate opportunities. Each student is paid £350 to attend the programme for one week.


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 opportunities will vary depending on your year of study; therefore, please visit our website for further details. The CMS Academy is the main route to securing a training contract with CMS.

Our minimum criteria requires candidates to have an ABB at A Level (or equivalent) and be on track to achieve/have achieved a 2:1 at degree level (or equivalent).

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CMS Latest Reviews

  • Vacation Scheme

    There was a lot put on the vac scheme and it felt like they had made a real effort to show us the firm and allow us to see what it was like from a the inside...


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  • First Steps Placement

    An extremely valuable insight week, with varied work and networking opportunities. I would definitely recommend students with an interest in a commercial law career to apply to CMS for this scheme. CM...


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  • Vacation Scheme student

    I absolutely loved my time at the Academy this summer. It was so insightful and a great way to learn more about the firm, their ethos and their culture. Everyone I met was so lovely and it was good to...


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CMS Latest Case Study

image description

Energy Department Placement

Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)

Bachelor of Laws

A collegiate and incredibly friendly atmosphere combined with a fully exercised open-door policy created a very pleasurable work environment

Facts and Figures


Number of Placements Available This Year


Number of Internships Available This Year

2:1 (Two One)

Predicted Degree Class Required To Apply

Awards and Commendations

[2020] RateMyPlacement Top 100 [2019] RateMyPlacement Top 100 [2018] RateMyPlacement Top 100 [2017] RateMyPlacement Top 100 [2016] RateMyPlacement Top 100 [2015] RateMyPlacement Top 100