The hall marks of a modern global law firm

Our scale and scope. Our client focus. Our human touch. The fact that we are flourishing across sectors and borders. All of these are signatures of a 21st century commercial law firm with a 21st century attitude


Law Without Borders

CMS has more offices in Europe than any other firm, and a truly global presence across Russia, China, the Middle East and South America.

  • Aberdeen
  • Algiers
  • Amsterdam
  • Antwerp
  • Barcelona
  • Beijing
  • Belgrade
  • Berlin
  • Bogota
  • Bratislava
  • Bristol
  • Brussels
  • Bucharest
  • Budapest
  • Casablanca
  • Cologne
  • Dubai
  • Dusseldorf
  • Edinburgh
  • Frankfurt
  • Funchal
  • Geneva
  • Glasgow
  • Hamburg
  • Hong Kong
  • Istanbul
  • Kyiv (Instytutska Street)
  • Kyiv (Volodymyrska street)
  • Leipzig
  • Lima
  • Lisbon
  • Ljubljana
  • London (Cannon Street)
  • London (Mayfair)
  • Luxembourg
  • Lyon
  • Madrid
  • Manchester
  • Medellin
  • Mexico City
  • Milan
  • Monaco
  • Moscow
  • Munich
  • Muscat
  • Paris
  • Podgorica
  • Poznan
  • Prague
  • Reading
  • Rio de Janiero
  • Rome
  • Santiago
  • Sarajevo
  • Seville
  • Shanghai
  • Sheffield
  • Singapore
  • Sofia
  • Strasbourg
  • Stuttgart
  • Tehran
  • Tirana
  • Utrecht
  • Vienna
  • Warsaw
  • Zagreb
  • Zurich

A caring culture is a contemporary culture

Every firm has a working culture. Ours focuses on clients and colleagues, not just on deals. When we work with clients, we always aim to see things from their perspective, and promote a free and frank exchange of views. It is the modern way of working. This philosophy of openness applies to how we work with each other too – it is ingrained in us. It inspires us to speak up, be honest and share ideas. It also helps us build closer teams, encourage more personal development and manage our people better. Read More...

We know that actively developing a diverse and inclusive workplace is integral to a successful business and ensures we have the very best talent to look after our clients. Our culture is already highly supportive and respectful. Our award-winning Diversity & Inclusion programme just gives it a more formal structure and reinforces a workplace that reflects wider society. Read More...

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is core to our culture, too. That is why we encourage everyone (fee-earners and support staff alike) to spend 50 hours a year on CSR activities. We are proud to have been awarded the Government Quality Mark from Workplace Giving UK. This is in recognition of the fact that over 28% of our employees in the UK donate to a charity of their choice through their monthly salary. The average ratio of employees to donate in the legal sector is 3.2% which makes our figure of 28% all the more impressive. Read More...

We are one of the founding members of PRIME – a profession-wide programme that gives young people from UK state schools fair access to quality work experience. The programme is aimed at bright Year 12 or 5th & 6th Year students who would not usually be able to access this kind of work experience. Read More...



Take wide-ranging sector-specific legal knowledge. Add deep insights into a host of industries. What do you get? The know-how to advise clients in over 40 countries.

This is where you could work in one of the City’s largest pensions practices and the 2015 European Pensions Award Pension Team of the Year, or advise our high-profile clients on a range of employment matters and disputes.

CMS has successfully acted for Abbey Life Assurance Company Limited, on a £700m longevity insurance transaction

Our Risk Transactions Team has successfully acted for Abbey Life Assurance Company Limited, the life insurance subsidiary of Deutsche Bank AG, on a £700m longevity insurance transaction with the Trustee of the Serco Pension and Life Assurance Scheme, and on Abbey Life’s associated reinsurance arrangements with a major international reinsurer.

Like many large pension schemes, Serco has potentially significant exposure to continued improvements in pensioners’ life expectancy (longevity risks). This longevity transaction provides the Serco Pension and Life Assurance Scheme with a hedge against the longevity risk associated with certain in-payment members of the scheme and their dependants.

This transaction is particularly innovative as Abbey Life has, for the first time, acted as a “pass through” and therefore does not assume credit risk in respect of either the Serco trustee or the reinsurer. This is an important step in the development of a “disintermediated” model for the longevity market and it is, we believe, the first transaction of its kind where the “pass through” entity is a fully authorised UK insurance company which does not form part of the scheme employer’s group. CMS’ involvement in this deal reinforces the market-leading reputation of our Risk Transactions Team.



Trainee involvement

‘In my first week in the Risk Transaction Team I was asked to work on, a longevity insurance and reinsurance transaction. Our client was insuring the longevity risk (people living longer than expected) of £700m of a pension scheme’s in-payment liabilities. This risk would then be passed on to a reinsurer.

It was a really exciting deal to be involved in as the structure was the first of its kind in the industry which meant that there were innovative features that were heavily negotiated throughout.

Being involved from an early stage meant that I had a chance to familiarise myself with the structure, all of the different transaction documents and the commercial rationale for the deal. The partner on the deal encouraged me to have a go at amending the documents to reflect our position, and then went through my amends with me, explaining what each change should be and why it should be made. This really improved my understanding of the transaction; the legal mechanisms used to reflect commercial positions and developed my drafting skills and attention to detail.

The last 6 weeks of the transaction were very intense and I attended lots of conference calls and face-to-face meetings with the other parties. This gave me fantastic exposure to our clients, all the other parties on the transaction and an insight into pressurised face-to-face negotiations.

The core team (1 partner, 1 consultant, 2 senior associates, 1 lawyer and myself as a trainee) would stay late most nights to turn the documents. It made for a really good, collaborative team atmosphere, and I was made to feel included and valued in a cutting edge, large transaction.’





In one of the UK’s leading (and Central and Eastern Europe’s largest) Real Estate practices, you could experience Construction, Environment, Facilities, Finance, Hotels, Investment, Planning, Litigation & Disputes, Retail & Leisure and more.


CMS advises TH Real Estate on the flagship £850m redevelopment of St James Shopping Centre, Edinburgh

The redevelopment of the St James Shopping Centre, at one end of Edinburgh’s Princes Street, is the largest and highest profile retail-led redevelopment currently ongoing in Scotland. It is also highly sensitive as it involves the demolition of the 1970s centre around the existing John Lewis store (which will be remodelled and retained) and its replacement with a new shopping and leisure destination in the middle of Georgian Edinburgh. The scheme will involve a doubling of the current retail space, along with the creation of a cinema, hotel, apart hotel and 138 luxury flats. This highly complex project has involved public sector Growth Accelerator Model funding (a development of a TiF funding scheme) as well as advice on property development, planning, CPO, competition/state aid, construction and related issues. It demonstrates CMS’s position as key advisor on the largest and most challenging retail led redevelopment project in Scotland.


Trainee involvement

‘The redevelopment of Edinburgh St James is one of the biggest and most complicated projects I have worked on during my time as a CMS trainee and was particularly exciting to work on due to the fast pace at which the project moved. I was involved in the project from my first day in the Planning team, assisting in the preparation of documents and statements for the Inquiry that was held for the Compulsory Purchase Order. I was able to attend most of the two-week Inquiry and the strategy meetings with Senior Counsel, the client and Council officers. This was particularly interesting as it enabled me to understand the importance of the project not only from a financial perspective, but the strategic impact that such a development could have on the city. Being able to attend the Inquiry and watch arguments being presented to the Reporter,  I was able to appreciate the necessity of thorough preparation and clarity of explanation. I gained an understanding of how the law can be used in complex, multi-faceted developments to deliver projects efficiently and how well CMS is placed to advise, with lawyers across different practice groups working collaboratively.’

Hone your career in Oil & Gas, Water, Construction, Infrastructure/Transport, Electricity, Private Finance Initiatives, Project Finance or Projects.


CMS advises UK Power Networks on appeals against RIIO-ED1 Price Control Settlement


CMS has advised UK Power Networks (“UKPN”) on the appeals brought before the Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) by British Gas Trading and Northern Power Grid against the RIIO-ED1 Price Control. British Gas Trading sought to reduce the amount of revenue that the distribution network operators (“DNOs”) could claim whereas Northern Power Grid sought to increase its allowed revenue.

The appeal was the first brought under the new provisions of s11 of the Electricity Act that reflect the new procedure and replace the old Competition Commission references, and so we were dealing with brand new legal issues with no direct precedent. The process involved exceptionally tight deadlines and cooperation between CMS and a small number of other law firms acting for the other DNOs.

The CMA’s Final Determination in the British Gas Trading appeal sided with Ofgem and the DNOs, with only one small concession being made on one of the grounds. In the Northern Power Grid appeal the CMA allowed again a small change which may result in an upside for the DNOs. This win is a tremendous result for our client and the firm, cementing our credentials in the energy regulation sector.

UKPN is controlled by CKI and Power Assets Holdings, companies in the Cheung Kong group and key clients of the firm. UKPN is the distributor of 27% of the UK’s electricity and the total price control is worth over £28 billion for the DNOs. The new RIIO model sets the revenues that DNOs can earn for the following 8 year period, running from April 2015 – March 2023.

Trainee involvement

‘During 2015 I was part of a team that worked on the appeals brought against the RIIO-ED1 price control for distribution network operators. Our client was UK Power Networks, the owner and operator of the distribution networks in the South East of England and the largest distributor of electricity in the UK. My role as a trainee was to case manage the appeal and ensure that our team worked effectively with the client and other advisors on the appeals. Our client was not a party to either appeal but the possible outcomes of the appeal were wide ranging and our client needed to ensure its view was represented throughout the appeal. I was involved in the drafting of submissions, reviewing submissions made by all parties, the writing of letters and day to day management of the appeal documentation as well as attending meetings and hearings. It was exciting to be involved as a trainee as I had a lot of client contact and saw the appeal from beginning to end. As this was a ground breaking case it was exceptionally interesting to see new law put into practice for the first time and interact with a number of different law firms in this context.’

In CRD no two cases are the same. Here, you could face challenges in Insurance and Re-insurance, Advertising and Marketing, Charities, Competition and European Community Law, Financial Services, Health & Safety, Intellectual Property, IT, Telecoms and Technology.


A recent project was the sale of Robert Dyas to Theo Paphitis+

The majority shareholders of 140-year-old hardware retailer Robert Dyas – a bank syndicate comprising Lloyds, Allied Irish Banks and GSO, Blackstone’s leveraged loan business – relied on us to steer the sale of the business to Dragons’ Den star, Theo Paphitis.

Trainee involvement

‘I assisted on the corporate side of the sale whilst another CMS trainee assisted on the banking side. CMS were acting for the majority selling shareholders in the company; a syndicate of banks. My role included drafting parts of key corporate documents including the SPA, drafting ancillary documents such as board minutes and stock transfer forms, ensuring all the documents were signed as appropriate, and managing post-completion tasks such as transferring monies and producing a transaction bible.’

A career in Banking and International Finance could see you become an expert in a host of areas: Acquisition Finance, Asset Finance, Capital Markets and Asset-backed Securities, Corporate Recovery and Project Finance.


CMS advises Value Retail on Bicester Village financing
CMS has advised Value Retail, the leading developer and operator of luxury outlet shopping destinations, on the refinancing of Bicester Village in a £425m loan facility provided by a consortium of lenders including Deutsche Pfandbriefbank, Santander, Crédit Agricole, Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Hypothekenbank.

Bicester Village is one of the collection of ten outlet villages in the world, developed and operated by Value Retail. It is home to more than 130 boutiques of luxury brands.

Trainee involvement

‘During my banking seat I had the opportunity to work on the re-financing of Bicester Village. My contributions included drafting the board minutes and other corporate authority documents for the borrowers to ensure that the all of the documents required for the re-financing were properly approved by the company. Furthermore I drafted a number of documents to release the borrowers from their existing obligations in order that they would be able to enter into the new financing. I also had a number of meetings with our client to discuss outstanding issues and documents that the banks would need to see before the re-financing could be completed.

Being familiar with Bicester Village prior to this transaction made it particularly exciting to assist on the project. This was also the first time I’d had the opportunity to act for the Borrower rather than the Lenders which helped to give me a new perspective on how banking transactions run. It was interesting to take part in all-parties meetings and hear discussions between the borrower, legal counsel and the various banks involved. I also learnt a lot about the importance of maintaining clear lines of communication with the client to ensure that everybody is working towards the same target. This was particularly true as we worked with signatories in Bermuda which, with the time differences involved, could have caused substantial problems for closing.’

You could make your mark in Corporate Finance, Corporate Tax, Cross-border Transactions, Fraud, International Tax, Mergers and Acquisitions, Private Equity/Management Buy-outs, Privatisation and VAT.


A recent deal was the £645 million acquisition of a UK gas distribution network

CMS advised a consortium led by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited (CKI) on the acquisition of Wales & West Utilities (WWU), one of the eight gas distribution networks in the UK.

The client had very specific reasons for picking us: “We chose to work with CMS on this transaction because of their outstanding reputation in the Energy sector and the relationship we have developed with the CMS team on other transactions. The team’s experience and track record stood out.”

Trainee involvement

CMS advised a consortium led by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Limited (CKI) on the acquisition of Wales & West Utilities (WWU), one of the eight gas distribution networks in the UK.

The client had very specific reasons for picking us: “We chose to work with CMS on this transaction because of their outstanding reputation in the Energy sector and the relationship we have developed with the CMS team on other transactions. The team’s experience and track record stood out.”

Unrivalled industry expertise


We were one of the first law firms to structure our business around industry sectors. It is an approach we are constantly reinforcing. On the back of the legal sector’s most comprehensive and award-winning client feedback programme, we are delivering a service that’s more relevant, tailored and in touch than ever before.

We understand our clients’ industries every bit as well as we understand the laws that surround them. Not only do we give better advice, but we also build stronger client relationships.

Consumer Products

The Consumer Products sector is a fiercely competitive market. From all aspects of the supply chain, organisations are under pressure to improve yield, cut costs and deliver value, while also reducing environmental impact and providing sustainable solutions. For businesses to cope with fluctuations in the cost of raw materials, funding pressures and consolidation in their markets, they need a legal team who understands the market and their needs.

Energy & Utilities

CMS does not just participate in the Energy industry; it has been shaping it for over 20 years. Our Energy team brings together legal experts who have advised on every tier of the Energy sector, from upstream oil and gas and power generation, through to network, wholesale and retail businesses and strategic investors and specialist players. We advise on a variety of matters on a daily basis, including on commercial arrangements, M&A, financing, trading, and dispute resolution.

Financial Institutions & Services

The daily challenges our clients face doing business in a highly regulated, cost pressured environment mean they need advisers who are commercial, practical and industry savvy. Our track record of advising on a wide range of large-scale and multi-jurisdictional transactions, coupled with our insight developed through our long-term relationships with some of the industry's key players, mean that our clients benefit from working with a team that really understands the Financial Services sector and its issues.

Infrastructure & Project

Investment in building schools and hospitals is key to improving everybody’s quality of life. With the huge sums of money involved, it pays to be advised by some of the leading advisers in this sector area. Our experience in the procurement of projects through public works programmes and private sector financings covers a wide range of sectors including: Custodial and Justice, Transport, Health, Prisons, Education, Waste, Energy, Defence, IT/Telecoms, Leisure, Ports, Rail, Roads and Water.

Hotels & Leisure

Our insight, developed through established relationships with some of the industry’s market leaders, means that our clients can trust that they are working with a team who really knows the intricacies of their sector and its legal issues. Our Hotels & Leisure group is consistently highly ranked with a number of large longstanding clients operating in the Hotels, Pubs, Bars & Restaurants, Health & Fitness, Gaming, Sport and Museum sectors.

Insurance & Funds

We have excellent industry know-how, gained from working in the Insurance and Reinsurance market for over half a century. Our long-term involvement in providing insurance legal expertise means that we can support clients to make the most of new opportunities, and that we understand the issues businesses are facing now. We also have a big team across Europe specialising in fund formation. They advise on all types of funds, whether open or closed-ended; institutional or retail; private or listed; partnership or corporate.


We have advised on numerous ground-breaking developments within lifesciences, including market-changing M&A deals and complex litigation. We offer the advantage of established industry knowledge, great relationships with major players, and technical skills. That is why we work with many of the world’s leading lifesciences companies to deliver integrated services across Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Biotechnology.

Technology Media & Telecoms

These increasingly integrated areas are covered by a team of our specialists, who are knowledgeable about both the legal and industry aspects of the market. This sector has seen an increasing convergence of technologies that constantly affects our clients’ needs and expectations. As a law firm without a formulaic approach, we quickly adapt to the pace of this fast moving area to keep clients up to date on key issues.

Where the past and future come together


A lot has happened at CMS since we were established in 1999. Scroll through the timeline below to see how and where we have grown and some of our key global locations.