CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang triple merger goes live

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New global outfit boasts over 1,000 partners and 5,000 lawyers

The three-way merger between CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang has officially gone live.

The deal, the largest ever in the UK legal services market, creates a new global outfit with over 1,000 partners and 5,000 lawyers. Punting for the name CMS (sorry, Nabarrowang fans), the firm becomes the sixth largest outfit in the UK by revenue and the sixth largest in the world by lawyer headcount.

Commenting on today’s long awaited tie-up, senior partner Penelope Warne said:

Today is an important day for the firm and for our clients. We have made this bold move with one goal in mind: to build a new kind of future-facing law firm. By combining top quality sector expertise with international scale and a strategy to become a progressive technology-driven firm, we are better equipped to deliver excellence for our clients in a rapidly changing market.

Rumours of a potential combination between the three firms first surfaced last summer.

Legal Cheek reported in July that “talks” between the outfits had gathered pace with a deal looking likely. However, it wasn’t until September that a joint spokesperson confirmed the rumours. A successful partner vote ensued in September, and the trio revealed they were to merge in May 2017.

But the complex tie-up hasn’t been without its problems.

In November we revealed CMS, Nabarro and Olswang soon-to-be trainees had been offered £10,000 if they agreed to defer their training contract start dates to February 2018. With training contracts usually offered at least two years in advance, CMS was left trying to accommodate the trainee intakes of two additional firms.

Last month the firm confirmed that 25 of its 46 would-be trainees had taken up the voluntary deal, equating to a payout of £250,000.

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It’s still the battery farm that is CMS.


penultimate non-law

As a prospective trainee solicitor, wondering if you could you detail what makes CMS so crap?












I hear Andrew Leather Chaps at DWF isn’t happy about no longer being the number 1 merger mill.

Long live DWF and all it’s sofas – no doubt it will bounce back with another merger soon.


Rupert; a US firm trainee.

“CMS, the biggest firm you’ve never heard of” – that should be their slogan. Besides, big does not always equal great, particularly in the legal market.

I’ll give you an example. According to LC, they pay you £67,500 on NQ at CMS. Really? Even assuming it has not been raised yet to £70/£75k (as LC gets things wrong more often than not), I am stunned that they are able to retain anybody there with that level of compensation. I will make more from September, after tax, than CMS’s NQs do before it.



Lad lad lad






But you’re assuming people could just move from CMS to somewhere paying more. Could they really though, let’s be honest..



Heaps of my friends have moved from CMS to US / MC. Happens all the time.



As the heads of cleaning and maintence services I presume?

Most US firms think CMS is an upmarket brand of British-made toilet paper.



From my trainee intake (some years ago) – at least 2 at A&O, at least 2 at Links, at least 1 at CC and at least 1 at a US firm (I don’t keep track of everyone). That’s about the same number as are still at CMS…
Other friends of different vintage are in the MC and at US firms. Heaps of ex-CMS banking team in prestige firms.

Mr D Weston

Actually that happens all the time at CMS – people qualify, hang around for a couple of years and then notice they can do the same amount of work for £10,000 – £15,000 min more at Clifford Chance, Linklaters etc with a lot less of the crap that CMS likes to give it employees on a regular basis, it doesn’t surprise me that the 1st week of this ‘merger’has resulted in most of the new staff being unable to work due to no power on the new floors – you pay peanuts you get ……






LC should delete that article and perhaps speak to the author about his writing style … misogyny is not funny. Citing a situation where a woman has suffered violence from an ex-boyfriend and is in a difficult situation is not a ‘sob story’.

LC where are the standards of humanity and decency?



At least she wasn’t disabled.



In a few years, CMS will sink and become an even bigger joke than KWM



I’ve only heard bad things about CMS. Seems the culture isn’t great and the people a bit twatty.



Best thing about the Forward Facing Firm today is that almost the entire London office ground to a halt as there was a failure to provide computers and telephones to about 60% of new arrivals at Cannon Place, along with legacy CMSers who have moved around to accommodate. Oh, and parts of the building had no power. all day long. Shambolic.



Glad the groundbreaking, revolutionary merger is going well. CMS will be a legal Titan conquering all of London in no time.

Rumours have it Slaughters’ partners are already pawning the family silver and Linklaters associates are quaking in their boots and soiling their fine woolen twill trousers.



That’s nothing. When Squire Sanders merged with Patton Boggs, it is said all the toilets across the firm’s offices were playing grand tunes and singing heroic odes to the mighty Boggs that joined the family.



I really don’t understand all the criticism of CMS, especially from those who’ve never even worked there.

I joined the firm a month ago as an Associate and have only positive things to say about it. The people are incredibly friendly (from the top down), the quality of work is excellent (in my team anyway) and the offices/general staff perks are impressive. Yes, they don’t pay US/magic circle rates, but on the other hand Partners/Senior Associates genuinely seem to want to help you develop and learn but not at the expense of your weekends.

My US/magic circle counterparts may be earning more, but I’m pretty confident that I’m much happier in my job and better at it than they are.

I can’t help thinking all the “battery farm” and “sweat shop” jibes are simply lazy attempts by ignoramuses to try and make themselves feel better and sound more intelligent than they actually are.


Will do better than you

‘ the firm becomes the sixth largest outfit in the UK by revenue and the sixth largest in the world by lawyer headcount.’
Can’t be the only one having a giggle at this disparity


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