Laura studied Law and the LPC at the University of Sheffield and is now a 3rd seat trainee at CMS in Sheffield
I get into work at about 8.30am and grab a coffee from the kitchen before catching up with my colleagues for a chat. By 9am I'm ready to start work.
I've usually created a to-do list at the end of the day before, which means I have a pretty good idea of what deadlines I have and what tasks I need to complete that day. I also check my emails to make sure nothing urgent has come in overnight or earlier that morning. Naturally, work is fast moving and you have to be prepared to change your plan for the day if a piece of work comes in that needs prioritising. Luckily, this makes the days really interesting and never what you quite expect!
My current seat is Technology and Media, which focuses mainly on commercial contracts. At CMS, we have some very high-profile tech and media clients, which means the work is interesting and always changing. I will often have a training session to attend either in person or by dialling into a session in London. The training package for this seat is extensive because it includes the legal aspect and also training on the industry. For example, the other day the whole department had training on Adtech, which is all about the technology behind online advertising.
My supervisor is my main source of work and I will either assist him with simpler parts of big matters or, where the job is more straightforward, I might prepare a first draft myself and then have it reviewed before making amendments and sending to the client for comment. I also get work from the team in London, which is a great way to get to know the wider department.
Trainees are also encouraged to get involved in the firm's wider activities. For example, every year all staff have the opportunity to attend the CMS Football Cup which takes place in a different country every year. Each CMS office from around the world (we have 74 offices!) sends players to compete against the other offices. This year, the tournament took place in Vienna and after a day playing football, we ended the weekend with an all-expenses paid evening out at a nightclub that the firm hired out. It was fantastic and a great opportunity to meet with colleagues from around the world.
I also get involved in the firm's charitable initiatives. For example, next week I'm travelling to Switzerland as part of the support crew for a group of colleagues who are cycling from the CMS office in Zurich to the office in Geneva to raise money for the firm's chosen charities.
Trainees also get the opportunity to go on a secondment for one of their seats; either to a client or to another CMS office. Currently, there are trainees in the Rio de Janeiro, Dubai and Beijing offices, and at Amazon, Goldman Sachs and Mercedes (amongst many, many others!). So far, all the trainees in my intake in Sheffield have been or are on secondment, and I'm hoping to complete one in my final seat as well.
The Sheffield office is super friendly so most people tend to stick around at lunchtime and eat in the canteen. The firm also provides complimentary pay day drinks on Fridays each month. This is great because the whole office is invited and we get a chance to chat to people that we don't normally work with on a daily basis.
My day tends to end at around 6pm. If there isn't much to do, we are very much encouraged to leave earlier than this. Equally, if there is a big job that needs completing we might be asked to stay later, although this is very rare in Sheffield.
I didn't have a traditional route into becoming a trainee. Although I studied law, I wasn't sure I actually wanted to become a lawyer! After graduating, I worked in the City doing tax work, and then in the music industry before managing a youth project for a couple of years. Needless to say, all this experience really helped me gain confidence and work out what I wanted to do with my life.
Since joining CMS, I've set up a firm-wide Social Mobility Network which aims to make CMS as accessible as possible to people from all backgrounds. This includes assisting with the delivery of various work experience programmes and coming up with strategies to help people progress through the firm.
A training contract at the CMS Sheffield office gives you all the benefits of working for a big international commercial law firm; we get the top clients, a wide variety of cutting-edge work, and the chance to travel around the world. What more could you want?