The Legal Cheek View

Over a year on from the 2016 mega-merger between CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang, and CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang (or CMS for short) looms large on the legal landscape. The biggest ever UK legal tie-up by lawyer numbers brings together the scale and quality of CMS, the strength particularly in real estate of Nabarro and the media law cool of Olswang – and oozes potential.

The feedback from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18 is that CMS remains a work in progress that can be exciting and frustrating to be part of in equal measure. If there is a theme it’s wide variations between both the legacy firms and the nine UK offices.

Take training, which tends to fluctuate between departments and offices at most firms. At CMS there is the added element of the merger. As such, there are certain preferences that emerge – with “legacy Olswang IP certainly living up to its reputation”, and Nabarro property seats and CMS corporate seats also highly-rated.

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Key Info

Training contracts 65
Latest trainee retention rate 76%
Offices 70
Countries 39
Minimum A-level requirement ABB
Minimum degree requirement 2:1

Insider Scorecard

Quality of work
Peer support
Partner approach-ability
Work/life balance
Social life

Insider Scorecard Grades range from A* to D and are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


Average arrival time 9:01am
Average leave time 7:39pm
Annual target hours Undisclosed
Annual leave 25 days


First year trainee salary £40,000
Second year trainee salary £45,000
Newly qualified salary £67,500
Profit per equity partner Undisclosed
GDL grant £7,500
LPC grant £7,500

The figures above are for London. First year trainees in Bristol receive £37,000 and those in Scotland get £24,000. Newly qualified solicitors in Bristol are paid £49,000 and those in Scotland have a salary of £39,000. The GDL and LPC grant are £5,000 each outside of London,


UK female associates 60%
UK female partners 29%
UK BME associates 4%
UK BME partners 2%

Universities Current Trainees Attended

The Firm In Its Own Words