• City Law Firms
  • Aberdeen, Sheffield, Bristol, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow

Training Contract

  • Places: 65

Vacation Scheme

  • Places: Circa 85

Firm stats

  • Total employees: 7500




CMS is a future-facing law firm combining top quality sector expertise with international scale and a strategy to become a progressive technology-driven firm. The firm focuses on delivering rewarding futures for its clients, its communities and its people.

The culture at CMS is open, honest and approachable and it values innovation, collaboration and inclusivity. And there is great momentum; employing more than 4,500 fee earners worldwide and with a total staff of 7,500, it creates exceptional relationships with clients and staff. This means it is looking for lawyers who possess excellent personal skills alongside a deep understanding of the business of law. In return, CMS offers world-class training and development opportunities, genuine recognition and inspiring work.

Across its six core sectors of Energy, Financial Services, Infrastructure & Project Finance, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Real Estate; Technology, Media  and Communications, CMS has some of the most creative legal minds. Its lawyers are immersed in the clients’ worlds, are genuine experts in their fields and are knowledgeable about business issues faced daily by organisations.

Training Contract

CMS trainee solicitors embark on a two-year training contract in London, Bristol, Sheffield, Aberdeen, Edinburgh or Glasgow. 

Upon starting a training contract, trainees complete a comprehensive induction programme. During the training contract, trainees undertake four six-month seats across various practice areas. There may be an opportunity to be seconded to one of the firm’s clients or to a UK or international office.

The CMS Academy is currently the main route to securing a Training Contract.

Vacation Scheme

The CMS Academy is their next generation vacation scheme. It starts with a one week ‘business of law’ training programme in London. This includes panel discussions with clients, case studies, work simulation exercises and client visits amongst other things! It is an intense but fully rewarding week where students will experience first-hand the commitment from the firm to make them the best lawyer for the future. The second part of the programme includes a two-week internship within one of their UK offices and participants gain real experience in a commercial environment and develop skills needed to succeed as a trainee solicitor.

We also offer our First Steps programme, please see details below.

First Year Opportunities

CMS First Steps

Take your first steps to a career in law

If you have just started university and are already thinking about pursuing a career in commercial law, then this programme is a great place to start. We have designed CMS First Steps exclusively for you. It includes:

  • An introduction to CMS and an office tour
  • Skills sessions on effective networking and how to demonstrate commercial awareness
  • The opportunity to shadow a trainee and gain an insight into life as a lawyer. This will involve observing and partaking in the day to day activities that trainees complete
  • Speed networking to meet our Associates and Trainees from each of our practice areas and to find out about the work they do
  • Negotiation skills session to learn about strategies for effective negotiation, including the opportunity to put the skills into action in our negotiation workshop
  • Case study seminars will help develop your legal knowledge and commercial awareness. They will cover how the firm makes money and examples of exciting deals
  • Team building day to forge social links between you and your peers
  • On-going coaching opportunities from an assigned ‘buddy’, as well as access to our graduate recruitment team for advice and guidance

To be eligible to take part in CMS First Steps, you should be a first year law student or second year non-law student in England or Wales; a second year law student in Scotland, or a penultimate year student studying outside the UK.

Salary & Benefits

1st year trainee salary: 

£43,000 (London), £38,000 (Bristol), £25,000 (Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow), £27,000 (Sheffield)

2nd year trainee salary: 

£48,000 (London), £40,000 (Bristol), £28,000 (Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow), £30,000 (Sheffield)

Post qualification:

£70,000 (London), £50,000 (Bristol), £40,000 (Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow), £41,000 (Sheffield)

Benefits include Childcare vouchers, Dental, 50% subsidy of gym fees, interest-free season ticket loan (for travel), pension, Private Medical Insurance, cycle scheme. The firm offers 25 days holiday per year and there is a Holiday Purchase Scheme (5 days). The firm also offers Critical Illness Cover, Eye Care and Life Assurance.


Our minimum criteria requires candidates to have an ABB at A Level (or equivalent) and be on track to achieve/have achieved a 2:1 at degree level (or equivalent). We will take into account mitigating circumstances.


Online application via graduates.cms-cmno.com. The process will include an online application, online tests and video interview. Successful applicants will be invited to an assessment day. 

Applications are likely to open in October 2018 and close in early January 2019. Please follow us on social media for further details. 

We recruit on a rolling basis, early applications are advisable.


Become a solicitor without needing to go to university – opportunities available in London, Bristol and Manchester, starting in September 2019.

We have recently launched our Level 7, degree level Solicitor Apprenticeship Programme at CMS.

We’re recruiting school and college leavers as solicitor apprentices to join our offices either in London, Bristol or Manchester. On completion of this exciting six-year programme you’ll become a fully qualified solicitor (so in the same time it takes to do a law degree, legal practice course (LPC) and training contract if you were following the traditional path, yet with no student debt!)

Salary: £20,000 per annum (London); £16,000 per annum (Bristol and Manchester)


- GCSEs: Grades 4 and above are essential (A-C under the old scoring system) with at least a 6 (B grade) in Maths and English.

- A-levels (or equivalent): Grades ABB or on track to receive these grades, although we will take extenuating circumstances into account. BTEC Level 3 equivalents DDM.