CMS (law firm)

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CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
CMS Cameron McKenna logo.svg
Headquarters78 Cannon Street
United Kingdom
No. of offices73
No. of lawyers3500 (2016/17)[1]
Major practice areasGeneral practice
Key peoplePenelope Warne
(Senior Partner)
Stephen Millar
(UK Managing Partner)[2]
Revenue£1.15 billion (2017)[3]
Date founded1 May 1997 (as partnership) 2 December 2004 (as LLP)[4] (London)
Company typeLimited liability partnership


CMS is one of the largest law firms in the world, whether by revenue[5] or by number of lawyers.[6]

CMS is structured as a grouping of different preexisting law firms. CMS Legal Services EEIG is a European economic interest grouping of law firms, which was established with the objective to create a professional multi-jurisdictional legal and tax service organisation, headquartered in Europe. CMS currently has 4,500 legal and tax advisers across 74 offices. The organisation's firms are branded with the preface 'CMS' as part of their respective names but remain independent businesses.

The acronym's letters derive from two of the founding firms, Cameron McKenna and Sigle (now CMS Hasche Sigle). The EEIG is organised and managed centrally by an executive committee based in Frankfurt, Germany.[7]

In 2017, CMS was ranked as the law firm with the most FTSE 100 clients, jointly with Slaughter and May.[8]

CMS's expertise is acknowledged in different fields by international rankings. In Chambers & Partners Europe 2018, the following practices are highlighted: "Banking & Finances" (Band 4), "Corporate/M&A" (Band 4), "Dispute Resolution" (Band 3), "Employment" (Band 2), "Intellectual Property" (Band 4), "Life Sciences" (Band 4), "Private Equity" (Band 4), "Projects & Energy" (Band 2), "Real Estate" (Band 3), "Regulatory: Energy" (Band 1), "Regulatory: Life Sciences/Pharma" (Band 3), "Regulatory: TMT" (Band 2), "Restructuring/Insolvency" (Band 4), "Tax" (Band 3), "TMT: Information Technology" (Band 2), "TMT: Media" (Band 2), and "TMT: Telecommunications" (Band 2).[9]

CMS Member Firms[edit]

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP[edit]

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP, trading as CMS, is a multinational law firm headquartered in London, England. It has over 250 partners and 73 offices across Europe, the Middle East, South America and Asia.

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP is a member of the CMS organisation of law firms.


The origins of the firm date back to 1779 and the law practice of T Hewitt.

In 1997 Cameron Markby Hewitt merged with fellow City of London law firm, McKenna & Co, to form Cameron McKenna (renamed CMS Cameron McKenna in 1999).[10] The firms of Cameron Markby and Hewitt Woollacott & Chown had merged in 1989 to become Cameron Markby Hewitt. Prior to that Cameron Kemm Norden of New Street, London, EC2, off Bishopsgate, merged with Markbys of London Wall, either in 1980 or 1981. After 17 years at Mitre House, near the Barbican, the firm moved into its Cannon Place headquarters in July 2015, situated above Cannon Street Station.

Henry Markby, a name partner in legacy firm Cameron Markby Hewitt, is alluded to (usually in an unflattering manner) in a number of Oscar Wilde's plays, most notably in The Importance of Being Earnest, when Lady Bracknell says that her solicitors are Markby, Markby and Markby.

Markby, who was president of the Law Society of England and Wales in 1887, had fallen out with Wilde, a former friend, for reasons unknown.

The partnership incorporated as a limited liability partnership in 2005.

In January 2006, CMS Cameron McKenna expanded its European presence through the acquisition of the Romanian law firm Hayhurst Robinson.[11]

In December 2013 it was announced that CMS Cameron McKenna would merge with the Edinburgh-headquartered law firm Dundas & Wilson.[12][13] The merger completed on 1 May 2014.[12][13]

In October 2016, CMS Cameron McKenna announced that it would merge with UK law firms Nabarro and Olswang to create the world's sixth largest law firm by headcount. The merger completed in May 2017. CMS Cameron McKenna has been renamed to CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP, and will trade under the name CMS.[14]

In 2017, CMS is ranking number 1 for M&A in Europe by deal count by Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg.[15]


CMS provides advice across all types of commercial law; banking and finance, competition, corporate and M&A, dispute resolution, employment & pensions, environment, immigration, intellectual property, private equity, public procurement, real estate and tax.

CMS' services are concentrated in eight industry sector groups; consumer products, energy, hotels & leisure, infrastructure & project finance, insurance and funds, lifesciences, real estate & construction, and technology, media & telecommunications.

The firm specialises in the following areas:

Sector Groups[edit]

The firm also operates along sector lines, focusing on the following industry groups:

  • Consumer Products
  • Energy
  • Financial Services and Institutions – Banks, Insurers, Investment Business and Private Equity
  • Hotels & Leisure
  • Infrastructure & Project Finance
  • Lifesciences
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT)



CMS, London office located above Cannon Street station is its headquarters. Having moved here in 2015 the office won best fit out of a workplace for London & South East at the BCO Awards 2016.[16]


CMS’ second largest office, Edinburgh, has been practising law since 1759, following the combination with Dundas & Wilson in 2014. CMS’ Glasgow office was established in 1991 and has over 60 lawyers. The firm has also had a presence in Aberdeen for over 20 years.


Established in 1990, CMS has nine offices in Central and Eastern Europe.

Revenue and profitability[edit]

Revenues for the firm increased to €1.01bn (£735.2m) in 2015, up 8.4 per cent on the prior year's €934.5m. Meanwhile, net profits had grown by 6.8 per cent according to City AM.[17]

Notable clients and cases[edit]

Financial Institutions

  • Deutsche Bank on a EUR 300m economic guarantee to an Italian life insurer relating to a synthetic fund.
  • MetLife on its acquisition of Alico from AIG and CEE operations from Aviva, disposals of UK and Belgian life companies and its subsequent European reorganisation (described by PWC as the ‘largest and most complex European insurance group reorganisation ever undertaken’).

Infrastructure and project finance

  • Department for Transport – Advising on a wide range of real estate agreements related to the sale of High Speed 1 (HS1) for GBP 2.1bn and on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link in general which included land acquisitions, leases at St Pancras and agreements with Network Rail
  • Metronet/London Underground PPP – Advising on all aspects of its successful bids for the acquisition of two of the infrastructure companies responsible for the upgrade and maintenance of all rolling stock and signalling, stations, track and civil works on 8 of the London Underground lines.


  • EDF Energy Renewables – on the Blyth Offshore Wind Demonstration Project (the largest consented offshore wind testing facility in the UK) near the port of Blyth in Northumberland.
  • Repsol – on the sale of Repsol's entire portfolio of offshore wind farms to Chinese state-owned State Development & Investment Corporation (SDIC).
  • The Ministry of Energy of Mexico – on the implementation of the Energy Reform passed by the Congress in 2013.

Lifesciences and Healthcare

  • Johnson & Johnson on the UK aspects of the sale of its Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics (OCD) business to The Carlyle Group for US$4.15 billion. OCD is a global provider of screening and diagnostics solutions.[buzzword]
  • Nestlé Health Science on a complex, cross-jurisdictional licence agreement for exclusive IP rights worldwide (except in Europe and Australia) to Lipid Therapeutics’ LT-02 compound.

Real Estate

  • Aberdeen Property Trust on its purchase of one of the largest ever Private Rented Sector blocks of apartments in the UK.
  • Imperial College on its Imperial West Campus redevelopment project (one of the largest development projects in London).


  • Hewlett Packard on its multibillion-dollar IT outsource for a global financial institution, of its global data centre provision (with aspects of banking/trading apps transformation and a leading edge cloud solution[buzzword]) in Europe, Asia Pacific, North and South America.
  • Telefónica on the EUR 8.55bn takeover of E-plus (Europe's largest TMT transaction of 2013), and advising Telefónica Deutschland on its EUR 1.26bn IPO and EUR 3.62bn rights offering.
  • BT Sport on the enforcement of its broadcasting exclusivity for Premier and Champions League games since the inception of those rights packages.

Notable alumni[edit]

CMS Hasche Sigle[edit]

CMS Hasche Sigle is a German law firm and a founding member of CMS.

CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats[edit]

CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats is a leading French law firm with offices in Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg, Casablanca (Morocco) and Alger (Algeria).

CMS Adonnino Ascoli & Cavasola Scamoni[edit]

CMS Adonnino Ascoli & Cavasola Scamoni is an Italian law firm, member of CMS.

CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo[edit]

CMS DeBacker SCRL/CVBA[edit]

CMS Derks Star Busmann N.V.[edit]

CMS Rui Pena, Arnaut & Associados RL[edit]

CMS von Erlach Poncet AG[edit]

CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz Rechtsanwälte GmbH[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CMS breaks €1bn revenue mark with 8.4% rise for 2015". Legal Week. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  2. ^ "People". CMS. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  3. ^ "CMS ANNOUNCES REVENUE OF EUR 1.3BN FOR 2017". CMS. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  5. ^ "The 2018 Global 100 Ranked by Revenue". The American Lawyer. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  6. ^ "The Global 100: the world's top-ranked law firms by revenue, lawyers and partner profits". Legal Week. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Frankfurt (CMS Legal)". Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Top 10 law firms with the most FTSE 100 clients". Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  9. ^ "CMS, Europe | Chambers Rankings". Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Comment and Analysis: Two plus two makes five at Cameron McKenna?". The Lawyer. 28 July 1998. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  11. ^ "News and the city: East Europe mergers, offices in Germany and moves to divorce". Solicitors Journal. 3 February 2006. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  12. ^ a b "Dundas and Wilson to merge with London-based CMS". BBC News. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  13. ^ a b "CMS Cameron McKenna partners vote yes to Dundas & Wilson takeover". The Lawyer. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  14. ^ "CMS, Nabarro and Olswang Combine to Create 6th Largest Law Firm in the UK and 6th Largest Globally". 10 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  15. ^ "CMS most active M&A firm in Europe according to Bloomberg". CMS Cameron McKenna. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  16. ^ "Fit Out of Workplace Award". BCO. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  17. ^ "Law firm CMS revenues break 1bn mark". CMS Cameron McKenna. Retrieved 28 February 2017.