I thoroughly enjoyed my three weeks at the CMS Academy Scheme. Not only did I get a key insight into life working at CMS, but the first 'Academy' week also helped me work on my personal skills and competencies, offering tailored feedback and guidance from both senior lawyers and external advisory consultants. As a result, I enjoyed the scheme because I feel like I have improved as a (hopefully) future trainee lawyer, and I am grounded in the knowledge of where I can continue to improve.
Both the graduate recruitment teams and fee earners at CMS devoted huge amounts of time to the scheme. The amount of networking and collaboration I have experienced with senior members of the firm has been unparalleled to my experiences elsewhere. It is immediately clear how involved senior management and lawyers want to be in the recruitment process.
We were assigned a trainee buddy, who contacted us prior to the scheme and arranged to meet with us for advice or feedback during the scheme itself.
The CMS Academy week allowed me to gain a wide range of skills and key competencies. Each task/seminar was designed to focus on a specific soft-skill. For example, we were challenged to think of an innovative project and had to present it to the group in a 'dragon's den' format.
The CMS Academy Scheme consisted of 1 week on the 'business of law' and then 2 additional weeks gaining practical insight into working at the firm. The first week was extremely well structured, with workshops, simulations and panels making up a full schedule from 8am-6pm each day. This also included many really fun socials - including a 'chef's challenge' and trip to a west end musical.
The general atmosphere was supportive, genuine and friendly. I felt extremely valued by everyone, and was considered to be a member of the team I was in.
The firm brought in a range of external speakers and hosted a number of panels for us to attend. The firm also took us on visits to meet and talk with their main clients. This was a fantastic opportunity to percieve the way CMS is viewed from an external perspective. We were accompanied by partners and visited up to 2 clients per day. For example, I visited the Welcome Trust and ITV Studios.
The second 2 weeks at the firm gave me a first hand experience of what life would be like working at CMS. I was invoved in client meetings, calls and internal firm conferences.
The firm culture was clear by the way I was encouraged to be involved in everything. I was consistently encouraged by trainees to become involved in work - even if I had never worked on that kind of task before!
I gained a very tangible insight into what life working as a trainee at CMS would be like.
Paid and reimbursed expenses.
I was extremely humbled by the amount of time we were able to network with senior members of the firm - including their Executive CEO who joined us everyday for the Academy Week.
We have a social every day in the first week, and many spread out over the second. These were very enjoyable.
CMS invited the vac schemers to become involved in various sports teams and matches - for exmple, football, cricket or netball. We were also encouraged to attend diversity events - such as LGBT Pride week.
For any student that wants a credible and exciting insight into life at a commercial law firm - as well as gaining key skills and competencies at the same time - this scheme provides an invaluable opportunity.