First Steps Student at CMS

Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
London Central London and City
Review Date


About You
The Organisation
Everything Else


About You

1. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?

Incredibly useful and so much fun - working in a relatively small group of 10 people, you get to know your peers really well and the workshops etc. are all enjoyable and not too stiff or formal.


2. To what extent did you feel valued during your time at the company or firm?

All of the staff and fee-earners at CMS were incredibly welcoming and made you fell valued for being there. The fact that a number of partners took the time to speak to us even though we were only there for three days was very thoughtful.


3. How much guidance/support did you receive during the insight?

All of the trainees that we talked too were really happy to answer questions and the grad rec team were always there and very friendly to talk to if you had any issues.


4. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and information you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

The skills workshops (negotiations and presentation) were very useful and widely applicable in many situations, not just to the legal profession.


The Organisation

5. How well structured was the insight?

Really well-structured, each day was varied and gave good insight into the firm or an aspect of commercial law.


6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?

Everyone was so welcoming; it truly felt like the whole firm was embracing you. Although there were times to be professional, e.g. during the presentations, many of the events and activities were quite relaxed, allowing you to really get to know both your peers and the people who worked at CMS.


7. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

The firm really thought about which skills workshops would be particularly useful and would aid you in getting a vacation scheme in the future, and which would also be widely applicable to many different disciplines. Although the scheme is short, you get to show your personal development through the presentations skills workshop on the first day and then finally the presentation on the last day.


8. To what extent did the insight help you to understand what it would be like to have a full time role with the company or firm?

There was a lot of contact with a lot of different fee-earners in CMS. The partner panel and networking opportunities scattered throughout the scheme really provided an idea of what it would be like to have a full time role in the firm and it really felt like everyone was answering questions honestly.


9. How much did the insight help you in understanding the company culture?

A large focus of the scheme was on the ethos and character of the firm, and discovering whether or not commercial law and particularly CMS was for us or not. The scheme was really good at letting us get great direct contact with a range of levels of seniority and people who worked in a range of departments.


10. How valuable was the content of the day in helping you to decide on your future career path?

It was very helpful because were given the chance to shadow a trainee for an hour or so, and the following day we got to talk to some other trainees in other departments. However, to improve, it might be useful to provide us each with a temporary Surface Pro or login which would make us more useful since most work is now done online. The trainee that I was shadowing said that if I had access to a computer then he could have given me something to do, e.g. drafting emails.


Other Information

11. Were you paid or reimbursed adequately for this experience?

All travel was reimbursed and lunch was provided. Dinner was also provided on the first day, in a very lovely restaurant. CMS also provided accommodation for me and three others because we didn’t live in London, which was very thoughtful. However, it would have been useful to know when breakfast would be provided and when it wouldn’t, and perhaps a dinner allowance for the days when this wasn’t provided.

12. Were there opportunities for networking and meeting other employees of the company or firm?

The amount of networking opportunities provided during this scheme was fantastic – I had a lot of great contact from trainees, associates and partners. I liked that this was carried out in social settings because it made it easier to ask questions and get to know the different fee-earners in a less formal setting.


13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?

The networking / social opportunities were really enjoyable! On our first day we were treated to a private capsule with champagne and nibbles on the London Eye followed by a delicious dinner sponsored by the firm. Following this, each day we got to network at lunchtime and we got to meet a really broad range of fee-earners.


14. Did you find out about activities that employees can get involved in outside of work?

There was a good amount of emphasis placed on CSR and pro bono work that you can get involved with. There was also mention of sports teams, such as the football, which everyone is encouraged to join, regardless of ability / skill. The women’s network was also mentioned, as well as the LGBTQ network.


15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?

Yes I would definitely recommend this to my friends – not only was it a great experience that provided a fantastic insight into the firm and life as a commercial lawyer, it was so fun and the people that you get to meet is incredible. The atmosphere is always friendly and you feel included and really want to participate in everything. What’s more, if you do well, there’s a training contract on offer!