5 day scheme in CMS’s london office. I was situated in the intellectual property department.
I absolutely loved this scheme. It was incredibly useful because we were given actual legal work to complete which gave me a proper insight into how the firm operated and if this career would be right for me. Everyone was so friendly and gave me lots of advice and helpful information.
I have never encountered a law firm which invests so much in potential employees. They gave us many informative sessions and skills-building exercises, as well as going out of their way to integrate us into the firm so we could make the most of the opportunities. I also felt like my supervisor valued my contribution as they kept asking my thoughts/opinions.
We received a huge amount of support during this scheme. Not only did they give us lots of useful information relevant to the application process, but I was also lucky enough to be in a department which taught me a huge amount about intellectual property law itself. I attended one of the trainee teaching sessions which was incredibly interesting and useful.
Though I don’t study law at university, I developed my research and compilation skills while at CMS, which have been invaluable. I left the scheme feeling a lot more confident and having a deeper understanding of how law firms operate and feel this will be incredibly useful in my training contract applications
Even though the scheme was only a week, a huge amount was packed in! We had some really useful training sessions and discussions about applications, as well as some great socials! The thing I liked the most was that three full days were allocated to sitting in our department, which meant we had a proper opportunity to experience them.
One of the best things about this scheme was how friendly everyone was. Firstly- all the other scheme attendees were so lovely, which made a huge difference. Secondly - everyone at the firm was really friendly and inclusive. Despite feeling nervous going in, the atmosphere helped me settle in immediately.
At the end of the scheme a number of us were fast tracked to assessment day for the 2020 Academy. This helped remind us that even though we were attending the insight scheme, we were being viewed as potential trainees, and as such we were given huge amounts of training and development, including an entire afternoon of exercises designed to help us present ourselves and information.
The advantage of spending more than three days seated in one of the firms departments meant that we had an insight into the lives of the trainees, associates and partners. We were all given a trainee buddy who could answer questions and suggest activities we might find helpful. Mine was amazing and managed to include me in multiple meetings and Training sessions, which meant I experienced day to day life at the firm, rather than a curated presentation of what the firm wants you to think.
A huge amount - one of the pieces of advice we were given was “when attending an open day, insight scheme or vacation scheme, look at the people around you. These are the kind of people the firm is looking for, and these are going to be your peers”. It became clear that one of the reasons CMS is so successful is because every single person there is lovely and the whole firm works as a team.
Though I was already fairly sure I wanted to pursue law, attending this scheme made me 100% sure I wanted to Pursue law at CMS. Not only was the firm friendly and supportive, but the scheme gave me the opportunity to experience day to day tasks to see if I would enjoy / be good at them - I loved every second of it.
We were paid £350 for the five days, and any travel expenses would be reimbursed.
We also had all social events paid for, and lunch provided, as well as a tote bag, notebook, water bottle and postit notes. Worth noting is that the offices also have amazing break rooms, with free drinks (including coffee and soft drinks) and snacks!
Yes - on multiple days we had social events or networking lunches where you could meet trainees and associates from different areas. One of my favourites was “speed networking” where you were rotated from person to person every five minutes. This meant you got to speak to everyone. I was also lucky - my supervisor was keen to try and involve me in different opportunities so I even spent one day in court, working with a different team of people.
Really enjoyable and different. For example, the Monday social - rather than just having a meal or room with drinks and snacks we all went to swingers - a restaurant with a mini golf course. This was really fun and different and helped break the ice between us. One of the great things about the networking events was that there wasn’t a divide between the firm employees and the schemers - they were friendly and keen to talk to us!
On one of the days there was a lunchtime quiz where all the offices came together over Skype to participate. The topics of the quiz were corporate responsibility and pro bono work, which was a different and interesting way to learn. We also had to give presentations on the Friday, and Some of the topics allocated related to opportunities outside “work”
YES - absolutely. Not only do you learn a huge amount, everyone is so friendly and inclusive. The other great thing is that this scheme is part of a process, and just by attending the insight scheme, I now have a place on the academy, despite applications only just opening for everyone else. CMS is LOOKING to hire you, not the other way round.