CMS Academy - The Next Generation Vacation Scheme at CMS

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


About You
The Organisation
Everything Else


About You

Role Description

3 Week Vacation Scheme in London

1. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?

These past three weeks have been incredible. The combination of The Academy, where you could tell they had invested so much time and money, was a great way to bond with both other students as well as with the firm. I really feel like it allowed me to grow in confidence; it challenged me but remained so much fun.


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

Throughout both the Academy and the Internship I really felt like a valued member of the team. The time they spent in organising the programme meant that from the beginning you could tell how much they cared about us. During the internship, we were given our own desk, had our own surface pro and were allocated a supervisor who made sure that we were happy and comfortable, and could go to if we needed any help.


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

I never felt lost or out of my depth. I always felt that if I had a question I could ask it without being scared. This goes for those who were running the programme, such as grad rec, but also from colleagues within our department. The trainees were always happy to help, and always organised lunches where we could have a catch up and make sure everything was going okay.


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

I honestly think I have developed skills for life; I have not only grown in confidence regarding my interactions with other people, but also my confidence in myself has grown. My communication, efficiency, teamwork and analytical skills have all greatly improved, which are all skills necessary for a successful future. I have also developed more specific skills to working in a law firm which will be invaluable if I do end up working in one.


The Organisation

5. How well structured was the insight?

You could really tell how much effort they had put into the programme. The Academy was run seamlessly. So much was packed into every day but it never felt rushed or like we were behind on time. This helped put everyone at ease, as even though it was overwhelming the structure helped us know exactly what was coming next. Overall, the structure of having the one week Academy followed by the two week internship was extremely clever and one which I feel other law firms will start to copy.


6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?

Everyone was so friendly it made the whole atmosphere a lovely place to me. The students were all lovely; during the first week, even though we were being assessed, there was never a competitive atosphere and everyone seemed to be relaxed and having fun. They organised great socials which were so much fun, such as dinners out, drinks on Madison Rooftop Terrace and a trip to the West End.


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

We had regular feedback sessions where we could ask about how we could improve and gain constructive criticism. This really helped us see what areas we could improve on and see where our strengths and weaknesses were. At the end of the first week, we had a big overall feedback session which was really useful as we were going into the second and third weeks. We also had regular feedback with our supervisor during the internship.


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?

During the second and third weeks, we were really thrown into being part of the team. We had our own desk in our department with a laptop and full internet access. I did a range of work for lots of different partners. Working for trainees allowed me to fully experience what kind of work I would be doing here, and working for partners and associates made me feel like I had a lot of responsibility and was a valued member of the team.


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

I think we were at the firm at an interesting time regarding culture, due to the recent merger. However they still made a real effort, and this was shown by the many socials that they organised. The general office atmosphere showed a relaxed culture, and this was emphasised by the students that they had chosen to take part in the programme.


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

Due the the overwhelming positivity of the programme, it really highlighted to me what it would be like to work for a firm like CMS. It confirmed my view and being able to experience it all first hand during the two week internship really helped with that. By being a full member of the team, and being entrusted with valuable work, meant it showed a full reflection of the realities of working at a law firm.


Other Information

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

I was paid £300 a week and reimbursed expenses for the first week.

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

During the first week, the faculty was comprised of many partners and other employees of the firm. They spent the whole day with us and had drinks and dinner with us. The following two weeks they organised lots of socials and invited employees, and I also went out for lunch with the team I was working in.


13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?

So good - the first week we had breakfast, lunch and dinner provided for us. They also took us out for dinner at Brigade, had a chef's cooking challenge, drinks, lunches out with the teams, drinks on Madison Rootfop terrace, a trip out to the West End to see Thriller and goodbye drinks at the end the three weeks.


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

I was invited to play netball, cricket, football, softball and even to take part in a triathlon! Lots of people regularly go to the gym and attend gym classes together. There is a really strong sense of doing other activities and the fact that I was invited to them shows how big of a part it is in their working life.


15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?

100%. I would tell anyone to apply for this scheme. It is so unique for a vacation scheme and they really have put in so much time and money in developing this, that you can really see how much they care about it and about the participants. The one week academy at the beginning is unique and I learnt so much and had so much fun.