I really enjoyed the vacation scheme at CMS (CMS Academy). The whole vacation scheme was really well organised, and the firm clearly dedicated a lot of resources to it. The first week - Introduction to Business of Law - was a fantastic insight into the firm, as well as the business environment law firms operate in. The opportunity to meet the firm's clients, participate in a simulation, pitch to senior lawyers at the firm were all really invaluable experiences. The following two weeks in departments were also really interesting and gave me an opportunity to learn more about the day-to-day jobs of lawyers at the firm. I was involved in a lot of interesting work and my colleagues were really nice.
I definitely felt valued. The extent of resources used was a great indication as to how much CMS is committed to graduate recruitment. Additionally, the fact that we didn't have to compete for a small amount of training contracts, but rather were told that there are enough places for everyone made me feel really respected and valued. It was definitely one of the factors which made me choose CMS.
I received a lot of guidance and feedback throughout the scheme which was really helpful, as it helped me learn as the scheme went on.
I learned a lot during the scheme but the most important takeaway for me is the insight I gained in the first week. Everything I learned will be extremely useful when I start my training contract as the first week has given me a much greater understanding of the business law firms conduct, their relationship with clients, and what clients look for.
The insight was really well structured. The things I learned in the first week were really useful in the following two weeks, and because I already had an insight into the firm, the job of a lawyer at CMS, CMS's clients and sector approach, I was able to get much more out of the following two weeks. The following two weeks were also really well organised as I was involved in a lot of interesting tasks, attended trainings open to trainees, and other events at the firm. It made me feel really included and I could really imagine myself working at CMS full-time.
The atmosphere was really friendly. Because we weren't competing against each other friendships among the vacation schemers developed really quickly and we often went out together after work. It also helped that everyone we met during the scheme from the firm was also extremely nice and willing to help us learn, give feedback and share their experiences.
The firm invested a lot in us and the scheme, most importantly, in terms of the time of senior lawyers at the firm who were present throughout the whole first week (including the firm CEO) and later on during the two weeks in the departments where we had the opportunity to attend the same trainings as trainees and had senior associates supervise us and give us continued feedback.
It was a very good indication of how that will look, both in terms of the actual tasks we would be performing but also in terms of what career progression at CMS looks like, day-to-day environment, opportunities for getting involved (on career development side, pro bono or socially like sports clubs).
We learned a lot about the company culture in the first week. We learned about their diversity and inclusion programs, career progression, etc. I was really happy to observe durign the two weeks at my department that it wasn't just talk and the firm really is very friendly, inclusive and the people who work here are genuinely fun to be around.
There were a lot of opportunities for networking. We had various drinks attended by trainees, associates and partners, a dinner with partners and charity representatives which the firm fundraises for, opportunity to go to PRIDE London with various employees of the firm, and we even watched football together with lawyers across the firm.
There was a lot of networking and social events and they were all really fun and a great opportunity to meet people across the whole firm.
Yes, we learned a lot about diversity networks employees get involved in, pro bono activities as well as social things like inter office football team, cricket or office choir. We spoke to various employees who shared their experiences of going away for a tournament in various countries where CMS is located, and they seemed to have really enjoyed it.