Vacation Scheme

The main route to securing a training contract with us is through our award-winning CMS Academy programme. This is your chance to take part in a programme that represents one of the largest investments any law firm makes in nurturing its next generation of talent.

About the CMS Academy

3 week programme Applications for 2022 are now closed

Learn the business of law. Meet clients. Work on live projects. Network with lawyers. Debate the future alongside thought leaders. All of this on a summer vacation scheme that results in, on average, 90% of participants receiving a training contract offer from us.

Your journey starts with an Open Day, where you’ll meet fellow participants and find out how best to prepare for the CMS Academy programme taking place in the summer.


Aberdeen, Bristol, Dubai, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Manchester and Sheffield


Undergraduate or postgraduate students studying either law or a non-law subject, as well as all graduates and candidates in a non-law career

More information

Programme content

Your first week focuses on learning the business of law. You will experience a series of engaging and collaborative activities designed to enhance your development and prepare you for a career in law. These include:

  • An immersive simulation exercise
  • Client dialogue
  • Networking with lawyers at all levels
  • Wellbeing sessions
  • Strengths profiling
  • An innovation focused project

This is followed by a two-week internship in the CMS office you applied for. You will be assigned a supervisor, trainee buddy, and be exposed to practical work that provides real insight into life as a trainee with us.


Application deadlines

Applications for 2022 are now closed – to register your interest for future opportunities please click here.


CMS Academy 2022

Ahead of the CMS Academy in 2022, we take a look at how our innovative Business of Law programme has evolved over the years.

What to expect

The CMS Academy is an innovative three-week programme, designed to build knowledge, skills, and provide insight into life at a global commercial law firm. The first week is dedicated to focusing on the business of law. The following two weeks are an internship that gives you experience of working life at CMS.

Client facing

You will engage with genuine CMS clients to build your understanding of the importance of strong professional relationships.

Supervisor and buddy

Get real insights into our firm from the people who work here, and get their support every step of the way.


Build your contacts with invites to work and social events attended by CMS lawyers and partners.

Fast track

On average, 90% of participants who complete the CMS Academy are offered a training contract.


You will receive £450 per week

When and where

First week:

Business of law training in London.

Second and third weeks:

Internship in a UK office of your choice – Aberdeen, Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow, London, or Manchester and Sheffield. An overseas posting to Dubai is also available (assuming no COVID restrictions).

“My time on the CMS Academy has been much more than just work experience. The firm’s been generous with their time and resources, and has exceeded all my expectations. I spent two weeks sitting with the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC ) team within Construction and Infrastructure and Project Finance, where I was involved in rewarding work, with immediate and personable associate and partner feedback, and was delighted to attend the summer social, where we enjoyed a game of impromptu cricket followed by a BBQ.”

Edgar Thornton Completed CMS Academy

What’s the next step?

Successfully complete the CMS Academy and you will be offered a training contract—the final step to becoming a qualified lawyer. Before you start your training contract, we will sponsor you while you complete your Legal Practice Course (LPC). If you’re studying a non-law degree, we’ll sponsor your Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and subsequent LPC. From September 2022, we will offer the SQE as a route to qualification. We will be running our SQE programme prior to the commencement of the period of recognised training.

Find out about our training contract


England and Wales:

Law and non-law students in their penultimate or final year as well as all graduates and candidates in a non-law career.


Law students in their penultimate or final year. Accelerated LLB students: First or second year. Non-law and BA Scottish students are eligible to apply for programmes in an English office from their final year onwards.


Final year students and above.

Application process

Interested in applying? Here’s an outline of the different stages involved.

Online application form

Online application form

An opportunity for us to start to get to know you, your educational background, work experience and interests and why you are interested in a career with CMS.

Critical thinking test

Critical thinking test

Designed to test your analytical reasoning and logic. Take a practice test here.

Video interview

Video interview

A short 15 minute interview where you will answer a series of pre-recorded questions.

Assessment day

Assessment day

Consists of a case-study, competency-based interview, a group exercise and an opportunity to meet other people from around the firm and learn more about CMS.

Any questions?

Take a look at our dedicated FAQs page