The Legal Cheek View
CMS is the product of the 1 May mega-merger between CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang. The combination brings together the scale and quality of CMS, the strength particularly in real estate of Nabarro and the media law cool of Olswang.
It’s a firm that is well worth considering – not least on account of its super-fancy new London head office and the very good odds of bagging an international secondment that the firm’s trainees and junior lawyers enjoy.
CMS's glass and steel palace at Cannon Street in the City is judged by one firm insider as “a modern architect’s wet dream”, and is rated in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey as one of the top eight places in which to go to work as a corporate lawyer. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that CMS has a host of other less glamorous UK offices where trainees are also stationed.
Not that most CMS rookies spend all their time on these shores, with over half enjoying secondments or travelling abroad with the firm. Popular destinations include Prague, Beijing, Mexico, Munich and Dubai. But we’re unaware of any trainee yet who has spent time in the firm’s new Tehran office.
Quality of work is generally good but is said to include some “dog work”. For the more challenging stuff, partners are apparently “very happy to deal with questions and to interact with trainees”.
In terms of work/life balance, CMS is pretty standard, with junior lawyers expected to tolerate long and unpredictable hours. One of the firm’s rookies working in a transactional seat described the two weeks leading up to a completion as follows: “One 4am finish, a few midnights and the rest 7-8pm.”
Various perks help ease the pain, such as subsidised gym membership, “sweetie drawers” and a decent canteens. Such freebies are said to be “far superior in our London office compared with those offered to the regional offices”, but then the hours worked in the capital are substantially longer. Hang around for long enough and, like at most big firms, riches await – with CMS equity partners pulling in around three quarters of a million quid each.