Academy Programme- 1 week in London with all CMS offices focussing on the Buisness of Law and 2 weeks in Sheffield on a work placement.
Really enjoyed all three weeks. The whole academy has flown by and everyone from the firm, whether that be in London or Sheffield, has been very accommodating. What I also really enjoyed was how we were able to meet the other candidates from the other offices, building up a network before we even began. Having the academy week in London really differentiated this scheme.
The time and money invested by the firm across the three weeks was enormous and I think all participants were very grateful. The exposure we had to partners was fantastic, particularly during the first week in London. Throughout the programme, it was obvious significant amounts of time had gone into the planning. What was more telling was how we had a member of the faculty between a small group of us every day. This high level investment made us all feel valued.
Prior the insight starting we had an “Academy Open Day” where we were given information about what would happen during the three weeks, particularly information regarding the Academy week in London as this was the first time anything like that has been done. This was very useful. During the Academy week in London, we were regularly given information and guidance throughout the week, except at times when this was deliberately vague such as the Simulation or Innovation Den. During the two week placement, I would get detailed guidance on what was required when undertaking work and was also able to ask questions when I needed to.
The Academy week in London was very focussed on developing us as lawyers and helping us with careers. This was very commercial focussed and allowed us to learn essential skills. The placement provided us with the opportunity to familiarise ourselves with what a trainee would often do, and I think this will be useful in focusing on priorities during the LPC. With regards to the work I undertook, some of this was research so could potentially be useful as part of my degree.
The planning which had gone into the week was obvious, with activities such as the client visit highlighting just how much work must have gone into the Academy ‘behind the scenes.’ Through having a ‘buddy’ who was a trainee from our office, we were able to have contact with the firm before we even joined.
Everyone got on really well. When we finished our first week in London, lots of people were a little sad that we wouldn’t be able to see those based elsewhere for the other two weeks. However, we did keep in contact with those from other offices. I think what was also telling was that we organised meeting up as candidates in addition to the events organised by the firm.
The Academy week in London was very focussed on developing the skills required of us as lawyers. The investment in this week was immense. Whilst on the work placement, members of my team who gave me work would often spend sufficient time explaining what the task was and how to do it. When I completed the work, they would also provide feedback.
Through doing real work during our work placement we were able to see what working at CMS would be like as a trainee. Deadlines were often given to us to complete work for a client that were the same as those that other members of the team were working towards. We were made to feel like a full member of the team.
The firm has recently merged so I was a bit apprehensive about what the culture was going to be like. However, we were quickly informed that one of the main drives behind the merger was the common themes of culture between the firms. We were also given considerable information about the merger, which allowed us to better understand the culture.
Through understanding the culture of the firm, and the future of the legal profession more generally, I am able to make a more informed decision on the career path I would like to take.
We were paid a salary, which I think was the same across all the offices. This was for all three weeks. We were also provided accommodation in very nice apartments close to the Office for the week in London. Furthermore, we were reimbursed travel expenses for this week. For the two weeks in Sheffield, we had to find our own accommodation.
For the first week in London, we had social events every night. This was a really good way to meet Partners from the firm. Furthermore, by having everyone from all the offices in the UK in one location, we were able to quickly build up a network of participants from throughout the UK. Whilst on our placement, we would often sit with current trainees for lunch and had social events with members of our team.
The social events in London were really good, particularly the Chef’s Challenge. I didn’t know what to expect of this but ended up really enjoying it! Whilst in Sheffield we had a tour of a Brewery which was located fairly near the office, which was again really enjoyable. We also organised informal socials amongst participants.
Whilst in Sheffield we went to a social event with young professional from the area. This was a fairly regular event. I also learnt about the firm Netball team.
Definitely. This Academy really is different to other schemes, particularly with the additional week in London. This impacted on the whole scheme and you could really see the collaboration between the offices which meant when we went to Sheffield we didn’t feel isolated. The investment into the scheme was huge and made me appreciate how much focus CMS put on recruiting graduates.