CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP

Claudine Vega
CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP

Claudine Vega is the interim graduate recruitment manager at CMS, based in the London office. She joined the firm in Summer 2017.

How did you end up in law?

I have always had a keen interest in law since university and there are many lawyers in my extended family. Furthermore, I completed a master of science in international relations, but many aspects of my degree programme also focused on legal and human rights issues. Prior to CMS, I worked at a magic circle law firm, a Big Four accounting firm, an investment bank and a business school. 

What are the most enjoyable aspects of recruiting?

I have been managing recruitment marketing campaigns, diversity recruitment events, assessment days, social media campaigns and graduate programmes across various industries for the past decade now. You get to know many other recruiters in the industry and you get to follow students' career paths too. I mentored a number of A-level and graduate students over the past 10 years and I bumped into a few of them while travelling abroad or in the City. It is such a rewarding experience to see them grow and develop, both personally and professionally. I have always been a very ambitious person and have gone through a number of internships, assessment days and interviews since my A-levels in Germany, so I often share my experience with students to help them succeed and secure a job after graduating. The graduate job market can be very competitive, but I remind students to work hard and stay positive, but to also have fun while they’re at university. 

What is the biggest challenge of the job?

You often manage large teams and multiple projects under very tight budget and time constraints, so the recruitment season can get extremely busy. I once managed up to 200 graduate recruitment events in less than a year; you need to stay on top of your emails and prioritise your workload. However, this is what keeps the job so exciting. You work in a very fast-paced environment, get to meet interesting people of different backgrounds, implement new ideas, and travel and work with colleagues across borders. I thrive in a very busy work environment and I really enjoy discussing and implementing new ideas. I am particularly interested in marketing and social media, so I always read up on the latest market trends and develop campaign ideas whilst I’m traveling. 

What has been your most memorable moment in the job?

I led a market-leading social media campaign, which attracted more than 8.7 million people. As a recruiter, I also managed to work at offices and recruitment events across Europe, India and Australia. It has been a steep learning curve. 

Do you socialise with your trainees/vac scheme students?

As a graduate recruitment manager you get to meet a number of trainees and vacation scheme students either through socials that we organise during schemes, induction programmes or graduate recruitment events across the year. We occasionally socialise after very busy recruitment events to thank trainees for their support. It’s also a great opportunity to get to know each other – I am still friends with many of them now. 

What are you trying to achieve at law fairs?

Law fairs are a great opportunity for students to find out more about CMS, our culture, our people and our graduate programmes. Students often find it difficult to distinguish one law firm from another and at law fairs they can speak to our partners, trainees and our graduate recruitment team. You’ll be able to get some invaluable tips and insight into our selection process, firm and overall culture. 

What's the best question you’ve been asked at a fair?

I typically get asked really good questions when students do their research on the firm beforehand and ask something they’re genuinely interested in. Enthusiasm and a keen interest in commercial work will always get noticed.

How important is your vacation scheme as part of the recruitment process?

The CMS Academy (our next-generation vacation scheme) forms an integral part of our recruitment process. It is an intense, but rewarding, vacation scheme where you will experience first-hand the commitment from the firm to make you the best lawyer of the future. Our academy provides us with a comprehensive view of the delegates’ skills and suitability for the training contract.

What is the most common mistake you see candidates making, apart from the obvious typos?

The answer provided is too generic and could therefore apply to any law firm. Why did they choose CMS? Students need to do their research and demonstrate this in their answers. They should also refer to something they are genuinely interested in, and structure their answers and submit a paragraph close to the word limit. 

What are the attributes you look for in a trainee that are particularly suited to your firm?

CMS is a global, future-facing law firm and we want people to join us who share the same ambitions. In my view, the best trainees embrace change, they have a global mindset and are results-driven, resilient, innovative and great team players; but they also show some humility.

What is one key fact that you expect candidates to know about your firm?

I would expect potential candidates to know about the recent merger and the firm’s overall strengths. Students will also need to think about what makes CMS unique and understand how we differ from other law firms. 

What is your dream job (other than this one!)?

I’m a very creative person and have always had a very keen interest in travel, photography and all kinds of marketing. Perhaps I should become a wedding planner, professional photographer or travel blogger?

What's your guilty pleasure?

I like watching romantic comedies or dramas which my friends are not too keen on, but they still get dragged to the cinema.

What's your desert island disc?

I like 90s R&B and pop music, so definitely know all of the classics. I listen to pretty much everything but not a big fan of techno and heavy metal music. 

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