I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the CMS Academy. This was a very unique placement in that the first week was designed to the Business of Law, and provided the perfect opportunity to network with all of my potential future colleagues - which was highly enjoyable and made the week memorable.
I was entrusted with a great deal of work in my two weeks in my department, which aided in making me feel valued by CMS. Additionally, the investment the firm is prepared to give the Academy students by devoting an entire week to training and developing us on the Business of Law truly demonstrates CMS' commitment to excellence.
I was provided with a considerable deal of guidance and support throughout the Academy. Both my trainee buddy and my supervisor were keen to ensure I got the most from my time at the firm, and thus were always sure to track my development and monitor my progress. This meant I was always supported and able to do what was expected of me.
I gained real legal work experience in a commercial law firm, and gained a great insight into what life as a trainee at CMS is like. Without doubt, this will assist me in my future career as the tasks I was given are those which trainees are expected to carry out, meaning I already have some exposure and experience to what I'll be doing as a trainee solicitor.
The Academy couldn't have been better structured. The first week being devoted to the Business of Law was an invaluable experience which really set up the next two weeks of placement nicely. It ensured I was comfortable with the firm and already familiar with its culture before beginning my work experience, which meant there was less of an adjustment period and I was able to immediately get down to work.
The atmosphere was very warm and positive throughout the Academy. From the very first day of the Business of Law week, I've been met with positivity at every opportunity. CMS has been very keen to ensure I feel welcome and a part of the team, which is only possible through maintaining this positive atmosphere throughout the Academy.
The Business of Law week was the key indicator that CMS is investing a lot in its future talent. This week doesn't feature working in any departments or teams: its built with various activities, social events, and presentations which shows that CMS is investing in its future trainees from the very start.
The Academy gave a great insight into what a full-time role at the firm will look like. This insight is achieved by the 3-weeks itself as well as the relationships you build whilst in the firm and the interactions in those relationships. I've gained a great insight into what to expect not only through my own work experience at CMS but through less formal conversations I've had with trainees, associates, graduate recruitment, and partners.
The culture of CMS was made very clear throughout the Academy. I was familiar with CMS by the end of the first week, which meant that I was able to fully benefit from the remaining two weeks of work experience without having to worry about becoming accustomed to the culture.
The two weeks of work experience component of the Academy gave me a strong insight into my team and what to expect in that specific sector. I now know that commercial law is where I see myself in future, but what specific sector that may be remains undecided for the time being.
I was paid £350 per week of the Academy. Additionally, the first week (Business of Law) I was provided with accommodation and breakfast, lunch, and dinner on most days. Travel expenses to and from work are not reimbursed, but those incurred in the course of your work are able to be reimbursed.
The first week of the Academy contained several opportunities to network and meet employees from all over the firm. There were fewer formal social events in weeks two and three, yet this did not dampen the opportunities to network in the firm. There is more than enough opportunity to network on the CMS Academy.
The CSR social networking event during the Business of Law week was highly positive and gave an insight not only into life at the firm but also to the CSR commitments which CMS has made and follows. There was also a firm dinner in the second week which was a great chance to meet trainees from all over the firm.
There are various sporting and social events held regularly throughout the year which trainees - and other staff - can get involved in. Specifically, CMS hosts a football World Cup each year, in which all of its teams from all of its offices compete in different locations for the CMS World Cup.
The CMS Academy is without doubt the most well-structured, most positive, and most enjoyable vacation scheme I have been on. I recommend this without reservation and would be keen to encourage all considering applying to do so: CMS is a fantastic firm and the Academy goes out of its way to demonstrate this.