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CMS Training Contracts & Interview Process

Law Training Contract Application Specialists

Law Training Contract: Application Dates and Information

CMS offers training contracts only to those who have successfully completed the CMS Academy (in other words, their vacation schemes). Applications to the CMS academy can be made for the winter and summer periods. 

Firm Overview

CMS has been in the City since 1779. It has clients across the world. Its headquarters is at Cannon Place, where it has more than 1000 lawyers working. In all, the firm has more than 5000 lawyers working across 45 countries, out of more than 80 offices. The firm also has a variety of business services divisions including IT, HR, Innovation, Finance, etc. The firm’s Law practice focuses on six core sectors – these are energy and climate change, financial services and regulation infrastructure and projects, life sciences and healthcare, real estate, and technology, media & telecommunications. 

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Law Training Contract: Firm Specialisms & Training Contract Seats

The CMS academy – that you will need to take on before you can qualify for a training contract here – is a three week program designed to build knowledge and skills, and to provide an insight into life at a global commercial law firm. The first week is designed to focus on the business of law, and the two following weeks are an internship designed to give a realistic experience of working at CMS.

The training contract then consists of four six-month seats, where you will work across different practice groups. You will meet clients and work alongside lawyers of all levels from the outset. The firm ensures that you have ample access to learning – from courses, lectures and workshops – throughout your time as a trainee. This, of course, is in addition to your on-the-job training. You will be provided with a dedicated seat supervisor, as well as a dedicated Early Talent Development team, and there’s even a trainee representative committee made up of elected trainees across locations and intakes.

Law Training Contract: Past Interview Format & Questions

The assessment format for the CMS Academy – which will be what dictates whether you get a training contract – involves initial online assessments, then a video interview, then an assessment day.

The Video Interview

 The video interview is a ‘short 15 minute interview where you will answer a series of pre-recorded questions.’ From past candidates, examples include:

– What would you do when confronted with a difficulty in your work?
– What differentiates CMS from its competitors?
– Who are CMS’ competitors?
– Describe a situation where you faced a problem and had to use extensive communication to deal with it.
– Imagine that you have realised that you are going to struggle to meet a deadline for a piece of work that a partner has set. What would you do?
– Why are you interested in CMS?
– Give an example of your ability as a leader.
– Give an example of your ability as a team worker.
– What would you do if you fell behind on your work here?

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Assessment Day

This consists of a case-study, competency based interview, group exercise, and a chance to meet others from the firm. From previous applicants, the case study involves reading multiple documents and answering the questions set on said documents. You will need to be careful with time management. One applicant states that ‘there were only four of us there. The first thing we did on the day was a 100 minute written exercise.’ They describe the written exercise as a case study where you had to analyse information about the offices of a particular company, and calculate the profits of each office. You then had to provide advice on how the company should reorganise itself in light of the profitability of said offices.

Partner Interview

The partner interview is case-study based. You need to present the information in the case study and discuss the most pertinent commercial issues within it. You then have a competency based interview with the partner, in which the questions asked are seemingly not dissimilar to those asked in the online interview.

Group Work

You work as a group on a presentation that is provided to two associates who are in the room and observe. The topic is ‘interesting’ per previous applicants, and you will receive materials to work from – i.e. no existing knowledge is required – just an ability to structure and present.
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