Legal work experience
I thought it was a really great experience. I received some high-quality and challenging tasks, met a lot of really interesting and ambitious people, and got to experience life at a large city law firm. While I was only on a one-week scheme, everyone made me feel very included and like I was part of the team, which I really enjoyed.
I felt that the calibre of the tasks that my supervisor instructed me to do spoke highly of the firm's intention to challenge and simultaneously support their employees. I felt valued for the outcomes that I was providing and I felt very much included in the team throughout the time I was there.
You receive as much support as you seek out. The firm is very friendly and has a high partner approachability culture, so I never once felt turned away by anyone despite people being extremely busy. You also have a trainee buddy who is there to support you, but I found that all trainees were incredibly supportive if you needed help or wanted additional work.
I feel like the skills I developed over the week will really help me once I begin my GDL/LPC and my training contract. The week was a really good introduction to commercial law. As a non-law student I knew very little about this, and by the end of the week I had a basic understanding of different types of acquisitions and their commercial implications.
I enjoyed that we had plenty of time to work on our own within the team (depending on which department we were sat in), but we also had contact time with Graduate Recruitment and networking sessions with trainees all across the firm. This really helped gain a taste of what kind of work there is out there at CMS.
Really fun, we had plenty of opportunities for socials, drinks and networking. CMS also have an amazing canteen, so you often bumped into other students on the scheme who were sat in other departments and got to chat to them about the work they are doing. I really felt included in the team, so my trainee friends often took me out on coffee breaks and asked me to join them for Corporate drinks after work, which felt very inclusive!
We were only there for a week, so it is difficult to say, but considering how much time trainees, associates and partners alike put into supporting the students deliver their best work, I would say the firm invested quite a lot. We also had a variety of skills and business sessions, as well as an IT session prepped for us, so it really felt like our training and development was a core interest for the firm.
Most law firms out there provide shadowing opportunities at our level, but CMS enabled us to undertake real commercial work. I think this provided me with a really good insight of what it is like to be a full-time trainee at the firm, in terms of the tasks you would be doing and the deals you would be working on.
Because I was so included in the team I was in, I feel like the week gave me great insight into the culture at CMS. Everyone is really friendly, social and supportive, there is no difference between communicating to a trainee, associate or partner. Everyone wants to support you to be the best version of yourself.
I really loved my time at CMS, so it definitely confirmed that commercial law is the appropriate career for me. I have never felt so challenged, and yet so entertained in a job before. I was given a lot of responsibility and stretched way beyond my comfort zone in a very short amount of time, which made things very thrilling and intellectually stimulating.
I was reimbursed £375 for the week, which I think is better than expected considering the academic stage we were at. Your travelling expenses were also reimbursed when coming to the interview, which is helpful for the students travelling to London from universities outside it. Moreover, you did not have to pay for the food and drinks served at the social event, so you are really well taken care of.
There were plenty of opportunities to thoroughly meet the Early Talent Acquisition team at CMS, to network with trainees and to connect with associates and partners in the firm. I personally had some experience in an emerging industry that the firm was venturing into, and was encouraged to approach a senior associate and discuss CMS's impact in that industry in further depth.
Great fun, I felt that everyone was really down to earth and ready to have a stimulating conversation, debate or funny chat.
The first night on the scheme we had a social with trainees and Early Talent Acquisition. I had a really good time playing golf and having a drink with everyone.
We had a full session on Corporate Responsibility and Pro Bono, so we learnt a lot about how we can get involved in the firm in different ways to accumulating billable hours. There has also been a lot of talk about CMS's social groups, football team (which by the way competes internationally) and support network for different demographics.
Absolutely, I believe anyone in their initial stages of career exploration should give this scheme a go. I found it incredibly insightful, very challenging and so inspiring. If you are someone that strives in high-intensity situations, crave intellectual stimulation and love being in an inclusive environment, I couldn't recommend doing the First Steps scheme more.