Vacation Schemer at CMS

Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
London Central London and City
Review Date
Less than £ 10,000
Commercial Law Internet/e-Commerce/New Media Legal/Law Pharmaceutical Science/Research Telecommunications


About You
The Organisation
Everything Else


About You

Role Description

Vacation Scheme student for 3 weeks, getting an insight into what working at the firm is like.

1. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?

I got to experience a really wide range of work during my placement and the faculty I was working with were so helpful and welcoming.


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

It was clear the firm placed a lot of value on the Vac Schemers as a whole, especially during the induction week.


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

Supervisors and faculty members were very helpful.


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

I'm not yet sure how the work I did will help me in the future, but if I choose to be a lawyer I am sure they will turn out to be very helpful.


The Organisation

5. How well structured was the insight?

Very well structured.


6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?

Good in the induction week and in the following more traditional two weeks, only issue was a couple of people who seemed a bit arrogant/competitive which I'm not a fan of (but what do you expect from a Vac Scheme).


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

They invested a huge amount in us. We got to visit clients and conduct meetings, make presentations, run management simulations, listen to talks from esteemed experts in their fields (e.g. CEO of neuroscience Consultancy firms), as well as experience the day-to-day work in the firm. CMS also paid for us to take the Hogan Test, which I'm sure will be really useful.


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?

It found it really helpful. The team I was sat with gave me such a wide range of work, and made it clear that it was all stuff they would ask trainees to do: cross-referencing, marking up work, proof-reading, writing articles for 'Law-Now', writing research memos about new clients, sitting in on conference calls and writing up minutes, making bundles, and consulting with the in-house Pitch team to prepare for an upcoming pitch to a potential client. This was all useful in deciding whether this is the career for me.


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

I got a really great insight into this. The offices are all open plan, including partners, and my 'pod' was really welcoming to me. Everyone seemed approachable and happy to help, and I liked the sociability of the firm: everyone seemed comfortable chatting to each other and having a bit of laugh, but also sharing stresses when the work they were doing was stressful.


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

It definitely helped here - I now have a much clearer picture of what I do/don't want from my career. Although we only sat in one department, the team made sure to give me a real spread of work which was very helpful. My trainee 'buddy' was sat in a different department, so she was able to give me good insight into other sectors, and I'll use the knowledge I've gained from that in the future.


Other Information

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

Yes. We were paid £350 per week, and had a 3 week contract. The first week involved the Vac Schemers from all over the UK (i.e. Bristol, Sheffield, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London) coming down to the London office to meet each other. Those who lived over an hour and a half away were given a one bedroom flat in central London each for free for the first week, and all expenses for the first week were reimbursed, and we were given 3 meals a day. The second and third weeks were more standard, so we did not get expenses for this.

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

Yes, and this was one of the things I found so impressive. Roughly 20 partners, as well as plenty of Learning and Development/Grad Rec team members, took a week out of their schedule to spend time with us on the Business of Law week. Getting to know such senior members of the firm was fantastic, and showed how the culture here is the opposite of stuffy. The open plan offices encourage the feeling that you can approach anyone, and my supervisor arranged for me to later meet one-on-one with a partner to discuss her area of law, in which I had expressed an interest.


13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?

Excellent. We really experienced a wide range of social events: a cooking challenge, a West End play, quiz night, drinks at a rooftop bar near St Paul's, dinner at a social enterprise restaurant, and more straightforward drinks and nibbles with the firm. I was impressed by how many partners and senior associates took the time to come and speak to us all.


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

I learned from speaking to people in my department that there are lots of sports tours and clubs to get involved in, plenty of ways to have fun outside of work, and lots of CSR opportunities. You can also set up societies (and get funding) which you are interested in, if they don't yet exist.


15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?

Absolutely. You won't find a Vac Scheme like this anywhere else. No other firm offers the induction 'Business of Law' week that we had, and it not only gave us a unique and privileged insight into the business side of the legal business, but also allowed the Vac Schemers to get to know each other really well before we began the two-week departmental placements.