First Steps Scheme at CMS

Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
Bristol South West
Review Date
Less than £ 10,000
Banking and Finance Law Corporate Law

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About You
The Organisation
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About You

Role Description

One week internship scheme at CMS Bristol

1. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?

Really enjoyed the scheme - my supervisor was really helpful (especially as I am a non-law student) and helped to match work to my level of understanding. I felt valued regarding the work I produced, and my supervisor was able to give some really helpful feedback which allowed me to improve my work.,


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

Felt very valued: taking part in a social event with other interns and members of the team (Thai cooking event) meant that we grew to know the company better and always a reward for the work we were completing during the week; my supervisor was able to give some great feedback regarding the work I completed, especially my client letter on the last day.


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

Lots of guidance and support: Kat Krisp, the graduate recruitment supervisor at CMS Bristol, was extremely helpful. We received clear instructions about the presentation at the end of the week. Before each task during the week, I was given instructions and tips on how to structure it by my supervisor in the Insurance Team


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

Whilst the skills I developed probably will not have a large effect on my degree (since I do not study law), they are very helpful in regard to understanding how the law works for my future career (especially in insurance litigation); I learnt how to use a number of legal databases and formed some great contacts.


The Organisation

5. How well structured was the insight?

Very well structured: after undertaking basic training of how to work in CMS (admittedly too much emphasis was based around the IT aspect - everyone knows how to use Microsoft Word and Outlook), we were divided into our departments (I was IRG), given trainee buddies within the department, and across the week completed an umber of tasks for them and our supervisors. This was intermixed with a number of other events e.g. an excellent presentation skills workshop on the Wednesday, a social event on the Thursday evening and on the Friday afternoon we presented to two partners a topic chosen for us (mine a 10 minute presentation on 'The Challenges that Law Firms face today'.


6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?

Extremely friendly: Kat, from graduate recruitment, was extremely friendly (one day my train was late and she was very understanding when I called to let her know I'd be late); my supervisor was very keen to give feedback on all my tasks and answer my questions about a career in the law; the trainees at the social event were very friendly, eager to ask questions and told us a lot about the culture of the firm and the Bristol office.


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

CMS give us full training within the firm - use of the IT systems, providing us with a Surface tablet etc. However, we also were given the opportunity to learn a lot about the departments themselves from partners, so our knowledge of the areas of the law was dramatically increased.


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?

I learnt the difference between working in a career in London and in Bristol very clearly from example - lawyers leaving at 5.30 rather than 9.30.

I learnt about the culture of CMS through the social events and through meeting partners and associates and asking questions.

I learnt about the work CMS undertakes by being given real trainee work and using the legal databases they utilise.


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

Large amount of insight - understood the challenging yet friendly culture of the firm. Without taking part in the insight, I would not have understood the same level that I do about the company: the presentations allowed us to gauge partner feedback, the level of feedback we received for work within our separate departments allowed us to see the culture of working at CMS. The fact that there were only a select number of interns at First Steps meant we each got to know each other and the firm extremely well.


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

Very valuable:

- unlike merely an open day, we completed real trainee work
- we got to meet with trainees at the firm who, three years prior, had been in the same position as us and learn from their experience.
- given the opportunity to ask valuable question to members of the team.


Other Information

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

I was paid about £400 for the one week First Steps scheme, which I thought was very generous and meant that we felt fully valued. Expenses covered within the £400, which included holiday pay from what I remember. After the social event, CMS paid for the transportation to the train station.

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

- Thai cooking social event where we were given the opportunity to meet trainees at CMS who we had not met before.
However I would have liked if we had been given the opportunity to meet with more partners and senior members of the team - perhaps in a panel style layout.


13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?

Very friendly and enjoyable - super informal and did not feel like I was being judged or assessed at the same time, whereas similar things I have done at other places have felt like a test. Given the opportunity whilst there to better meet other interns as well as meet new trainees at the firm and ask questions.


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

I would have liked a presentation on the Pro Bono and community initiatives that CMS engages in; as well as the activities that members of the firm can take part in e.g. sport or social musical activities. However, by speaking to trainees I gained a sense of what CMS allows trainees to do in regards to outside work activities.


15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?

Yes - extremely friendly; gain a real understanding of the challenging, ambitious and supportive environment at CMS Bristol and also it's differences with an office based in London; complete real trainee work, and receive very helpful feedback on how we can improve (both stylistically and technically); learn how to use legal databases.


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