One of the most common questions I get asked about CMS is about the culture within the firm. I hope this blog will give you an insight into my personal experiences at the firm (Brand Ambassador, 2019 Academy participant and future trainee) and what I think about the culture of the firm! I really do think CMS is a firm that lives up to everything it says about itself and what it promotes:
1 – Diverse and inclusive
Diversity and inclusion has always been a key point about CMS. It truly does recruit a very wide range of people from different backgrounds. On the Academy, around half of the participants are non-law students. It’s more common in England than it is in Scotland for people to do a non-law degree and then switch into law through the GDL. However, having said that, there is the accelerated law degree in Scotland for those who already have degrees and are wanting to pursue a career in law.
Even besides non-law students in the Academy, I met so many people from different countries, backgrounds and walks of life. Some had degrees in other subjects, some had only just moved to the UK to study and so – it was really a wide mix of people! This just goes to show how diverse the culture is at CMS and I find it so interesting when I meet people and hear about how they’ve ended up in CMS or even in law in general because everyone’s story is so different.
CMS have won and been commended or nominated for many diversity and inclusion awards. Of course, no-one does what they do for the awards, but it’s nice to see CMS getting recognition for how diverse and inclusive it is. One example is that CMS has been recognised by The Times as a Top 50 Employer for Women in its 2020 report which marks the 5th consecutive year that CMS has made it on the annual list.
Diversity within a firm is important for many reasons, including, but not limited to:
- Having different perspectives on issues because of people’s different experiences, backgrounds etc
- Having an environment where all cultures can be embraced and respected to continue adapting to social changes
- Firm loyalty and retention is higher when employees feel included in the environment
2 – Collaborative and support environment
The other key culture point about CMS is that it’s a very collaborative and supportive environment. There’s a lot of teamwork involved in a large firm with large departments and teams, as one would imagine. Equally, you’re given a lot of responsibility very early on, so you do learn a lot. The offices are all open plan though which makes asking for help or guidance easier than traditional law firm structures where partners may have their own offices and such like.
For example, during the Academy, I was given several large pieces of work that were completely new to me. My partner supervisor and trainee buddy gave me tips on how to get started and checked in on me every now and then to make sure I was doing okay. Thus, I was able to get on with my work knowing that I was being trusted with a high level of responsibility but at the same time, knowing that I could get any help and support that I needed, if I needed it.
3 – Employee collegiality and experience
CMS is well-known for being a social firm and I was not disappointed! There have been lots of events throughout my time with the firm including networking sessions, social dinners, charity events and CPD events. Whilst it’s nice to think that a firm is “fun” and “social”, I often think about the importance and effects of these events, rather than just going to them to “have a nice time”.
So, for example, through these events, I really think it encourages a lot of employee bonding and collegiality. You get to know other people in your team, other departments and sectors. You start to build long-lasting relationships with your colleagues and you then become more comfortable working with them in a team. In turn, it helps boost team efficiency.
There were lots of social and networking events during the Academy which gave me a great opportunity to meet employees at CMS from all different levels and departments. It was also a chance to come together and raise money for our charity partners, which was both fun and good for the community!
4 – Innovative and dynamic
CMS has always looked for future-facing lawyers. That is, lawyers who can think of solutions in innovative and creative ways whilst being able to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. This is well reflected in its culture at the firm through its use of tech, initiatives and global vision.
For example, during the Academy, there is an exercise called the “Innovation Den”. You’re paired up with another Academy participant and given an innovation-based task. The task varies depending on the sector that you’re allocated but my particular task was to create something to ensure CMS would be the stand-out choice for clients. This demonstrates how CMS is constantly thinking about it can use innovative ideas to remain a top firm and being able to adapt to clients’ needs.
I hope this blog has given you an insight into my time at CMS and my thoughts on the culture. I’d recommend CMS to anyone so if you’re thinking about applying to Vacation Schemes, it’s definitely a firm to consider!
If you’re ready to start writing some applications, have a browse through the tabs on my website for all my top tips on all stages of the application process. Here are some blogs to get you started:
Good luck, and please reach to me if you have further questions!