Vacation Scheme containing 1 week in London focusing on Business of Law and 2 weeks of a traditional law firm internship
The addition of the first week in London covering "Business of Law" was a unique factor to the CMS scheme which demonstrated their focus on developing business lawyers and allowed us all an insight into the London offices, a chance to meet the other participants on the scheme and excellent insight into the legal world.
The subsequent internship of 2 weeks was also a great opportunity, enabling participants to undertake a variety of work within a department with a number of excellent networking socials arranged too.
The engagement of individuals who worked at CMS with the scheme led to me feeling really valued. The investment that had been made in Week One of the programme, especially in terms of time from those at the top of the firm. The office for the following internship were also incredibly welcoming, with everyone from trainees to partners making sure they were available to answer questions and discuss different parts of their work.
Week One contained an emphasis on feedback both from fellow participants, which was incredibly useful for both hearing feedback and learning how feedback should be given. The following internship involved supervisors who were available for feedback as well as any member of the team being more than willing to give feedback on any work done for them.
Having graduated before completing the scheme the skills will not be useful for my future degree but the skills of communication, particularly in observing and learning how communication with clients can best be carried out, and also the legal knowledge I have gained will hopefully be highly useful in my future career.
Week One of the programme was highly structured, with days being packed with a variety of different sessions and activities. The later two weeks were less structured and varied more widely based on the amount of work available, although individuals in the department went out of their ways to attempt to find work if this was not readily available.
During Week One the atmosphere was very excited and engaged, both from the participants and those running the scheme. It was especially notable that this atmosphere was retained throughout the whole week for a very varied offering of activities. The atmosphere for the following weeks was more relaxed but still highly welcoming and engaging.
The investment of the company was incredibly impressive. During the first week, senior partners had given up days, or even the full week, to spend time helping with the scheme. This investment was particularly demonstrated when discussing with the partners about how they were attempting to manage their heavy workloads around their engagements with the programme. During the internship weeks this investment continued with anyone you interacted with more than happy to give up time to explain work, answer questions or give feedback.
Week One gave an understanding of what skills might be useful, for example with the opportunity to speak with clients and ask them what sort of interactions they most valued from their law firm. The internship weeks then provided a clear example of what work in the office would be like, added to by the discussions that people were happy to undertake with you about their work.
The company’s overall culture was demonstrated through Week One, showing their commitment to education and investment in individuals. The following internship allow me to understand the culture in the particular regional office that I wished to work in, shown both through the work that I was able to be involved with and the social opportunities that were arranged.
I had already decided that this was the career that I wished to pursue but this experience has enabled me to understand exactly how I would do this, both from the perspective of gaining a job and also of how my career might then progress, and also reaffirmed my decision that this was what I wanted to do and where I wanted to do it.
During the scheme there were numerous opportunities arising from both more formal situations, such as “speed networking”, where each table of participants would meet a new member of the firm every 10 minutes, and also informal situations, such as evening events and social events. The first week being in London for all participants on the scheme allowed us to meet a variety of individual from many of the different locations CMS has across the country.
These networking opportunities were excellent, particularly due to their variety in what the activity or type of networking was but also due to the different levels of individuals that we were able to meet, ranging from partners who attended dinners with us to more casual board game evenings with trainees.
Trainees went out of their way to invite the vacation scheme participants to events that they might be doing outside of work to demonstrate the opportunities that there are, for example inviting us to their football practice where they were preparing to play in the CMS World Cup in Amsterdam the following week.
I would definitely recommend this opportunity to a friend. It allows you to gain a greater understanding of CMS and life as a lawyer. The Week One of the programming focusing on Business of Law is a unique opportunity to this scheme compared to other legal vacation schemes and demonstrates CMS’ investment in the scheme and the individuals participating in it.