At Allen & Overy we recognise that choosing the right career is a big decision. For those of you who would prefer to gain some first-hand experience of life in a law firm before applying for a Training Contract, then our Vacation Schemes can offer you just that. All of our vacation scheme students will get the opportunity to be assessed for a Training Contract at Allen & Overy.
Our Winter Vacation Scheme applications are open from 1st October 2015 – 31st October 2015 and 1st October – 31st December 2015 for Spring and Summer. We will be recruiting on a rolling basis, so we strongly advise that you get your application in early in order to be considered for your first choice Vacation Scheme.
Winter: Wednesday, 9th December – Friday, 18th December 2015
Spring: Tuesday, 29th March – Friday, 8th April 2016
Summer: Monday, 27th June – Friday, 8th July 2016
Please note that you can only apply for one Vacation Scheme or Training Contract every twelve months.
What does a Vacation Scheme offer?
Each year we offer 60 vacancies across our winter, spring and summer schemes. There are no restrictions about when you do your Vacation Scheme with us – so long as you are in your penultimate year of undergraduate study or beyond – so you can choose the scheme that suits you best. We pay our vacation students £400 per week. In each of our schemes you will assist your trainer — a partner or associate — on real deals sitting in one department. We will ask you in advance which area interests you most and do our best to arrange for you to sit in that area for the duration of your time with us.
Alongside your day-to-day work in the departments, you will join with fellow vacation students on a client pitch project designed to sharpen your team, research and presentation skills and expose you to our broad range of clients and practice areas. In addition, our workshops, practice area presentations and other talks are designed to inform you about recent deals and the role of a commercial lawyer. They will also help you to develop the skills you need to be a successful commercial lawyer, including how to negotiate.
During your placement there will also be plenty of time to socialise with other Allen & Overy people. We’ll pair you up with a “buddy” — a current trainee who will be able to answer your questions, offer you advice and generally help make you feel at home during your time with us. Informal drinks with your department, lunches with your buddy and social events organised by the Graduate Recruitment team are just some of the opportunities you will have to get to know us during your placement.
If you complete a Vacation Scheme with us, you will be considered for a Training Contract at the end of your placement. The decision will be based on your performance during the Vacation Scheme – you won’t need to interview again with us.
Vacation Scheme 2015.
I applied for a Vacation Scheme so as to affirm my desire for a career in international law as opposed to other industries I was considering. I applied to Allen & Overy in particular due to its unrivalled global reach, the opportunities it offers for working abroad and a fantastic personal recommendation from a previous intern.
The Vacation Scheme was brilliantly organised so as to provide the greatest exposure to the firm as a whole, its core business areas and the kind of working life you could expect to lead at Allen & Overy. The Vacation Scheme provided daily morning presentations that introduced the varied nature of Allen & Overy’s international practices whilst also setting genuinely interesting work. Projects I was set across my two seats in Corporate and Capital Markets were challenging but also hugely rewarding in that they were material on final client-facing documents; this gave a brilliant insight into what to expect as a trainee. The team client pitch exercise enabled interns to work together and to get to know the finer details of both Allen & Overy and its clients so as to demonstrate ‘soft skills’, whilst two written assignments represented a more formal and objective means of assessment. In all of the work I did I received constant support and constructive feedback from trainers, partners and Graduate Recruitment alike which added huge value to the scheme.
Allen & Overy is clearly a firm that is defined by the people it employs, and the scheme was organised such that you were fully immersed in the firm’s culture and made to feel welcome in it. This was possible due to the many social and networking events that were a part of the scheme. From rooftop dinners with partners to escape games with fellow interns, Graduate Recruitment did an amazing job of fully integrating us into the firm, despite the brevity of the scheme, through a series of really enjoyable activities. The whole firm was filled with likeminded, approachable and personable individuals and this was reflected among the Vacation Scheme cohort – I finished the scheme having made strong new friendships rather than simply other networking opportunities.
Previous legal work experience I had undertaken was on a far smaller scale and therefore largely incomparable, but when comparing Allen & Overy to other city firms in different industries that I have experienced, Allen & Overy was in another league all together. The work was complex and employees extremely dedicated yet there was no ‘closed-door’ culture or hint of an atmosphere of internal competition. Instead I was introduced to a firm that though clearly takes its work seriously, does so through a culture of continuous improvement and welcoming inclusion. The three weeks were hugely enjoyable and richly rewarding – I can only hope that any future experience I have with Allen & Overy is considerably longer!
Vacation Scheme 2015.
One of the things that stood out most to me on my Vacation Scheme was how much pro bono work ended up on my desk. To hear about Allen & Overy’s commitment to pro bono work was one thing, but to be immersed in it was something else entirely. I worked on three diverse pro bono matters in my short time at the firm, ranging from answering legal questions for a biodiversity conservation NGO, to researching “freedom of information” precedents for a charity initiating litigation regarding the treatment of immigration detainees. However, my favourite matter was assisting on a guide being put together by the firm along with a law reform and human rights organisation to help MPs and other Parliamentarians understand important legal and constitutional issues. Holding the finished product in my hands on my last day—and spotting a modest contribution I had made just two weeks earlier—was a beautiful and rewarding way to finish the scheme.
The pinnacle of the placement was undoubtedly the client pitch exercise, which we had to present in small groups to the firm’s relationship partner for our designated client as if they were the client selecting their legal team. Having to understand a client’s business inside and out—researching not only their history, but also forecasting their future—was a daunting challenge that emphasized the exceptional commercial sense required of Allen & Overy lawyers. But help was readily given whenever help was needed—although it was not required of them, members of the firm’s business development and legal staff offered meetings to my team to discuss our approach, and trainees kindly attended our rehearsal outside of working hours in order to provide us with their feedback. For me, this exercise was an opportunity to test the culture of the firm, and Allen & Overy exemplified its reputation for a collegial and gladly supportive environment.
It was especially invaluable being able to learn about the more nuanced differences between Allen & Overy’s various departments. Aside from the work undertaken, different departments have different work and social habits that may suit trainees differently. Some departments are more active in the mornings, and others are more active in the evenings. Some departments tend to give trainees work from a range of partners and associates, whereas others tend to work in smaller groups. Some departments make you wear pink on Thursdays, even if it’s really not your colour. And, most importantly, each department has a different cupcake budget, and some are much, much better than others.
Vacation Scheme 2015.
I chose to apply to A&O after my experiences of A&O First and university events, at which I always met interesting, approachable lawyers. I was impressed by the strong global focus, the high-quality work, and the long-standing relationships with top financial institutions. I was also particularly keen to see the range of pro bono work undertaken at all levels of the firm.
Throughout the three weeks, we had talks in the morning, usually regarding different practice areas, and we spent the rest of the day in our two chosen departments. In Corporate and Litigation, my main work consisted of drafting documents, researching legal and commercial issues, attending international conference calls, and so forth. Alongside this, I wrote an article on a recent court judgment, got involved with pro bono work at Spitalfields Community Farm, and, with a team of three other students, pitched for business from an existing client. One of the most rewarding aspects of the scheme is an understanding of A&O as a business and how they maintain their long client relationships.
Social events were organised throughout the scheme, which were attended by my fellow Vacation Scheme students, trainees and partners. These included a room escape, dinner in the OXO Tower, and barbecue on the fantastic rooftop terrace! Being with such like-minded people means that we’ve formed close friendships with people who we may be able to work with in the future. We also supported each other and shared advice from our various networking lunches.
Not only this, but I was able to spend a week in the Banking department of the Frankfurt office. As well as giving me experience in another department, this allowed me to explore A&O’s global presence by looking into the similarities of the offices, the ways in which the offices work together, and networking with the German-qualified lawyers.
I was keen to discover whether I would ‘fit in’ at A&O. For me, it’s important to enjoy working there and to feel inspired and supported by my colleagues. This was the atmosphere I found. Everybody, including the support staff, our trainers, and the Senior Partner, took a genuine interest in providing us as many opportunities to ask questions and experience A&O as possible. My experience was tailored to suit me, so that I could get involved in complex work in areas of specific interest. The people I worked with gave me increasing levels of responsibility throughout the three weeks and made sure that I experienced the life of trainee at a leading international law firm.
Overall, the A&O Vacation Scheme is well-structured and gives you the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the life of a trainee, whilst also allowing you to understand the possible developments of your career. I now have an appreciation of the fantastic culture, the demanding and interesting work, the ever-increasing global presence, and the innovative business management.
When do Vacation Schemes run?
Our Vacation Schemes offer you the flexibility to come and do work experience with us when it suits you; in the Winter, Spring or Summer. You are able to apply from your penultimate year of your degree course onwards.
Winter Vacation Scheme application window opens on 1st October to 1st November 2015 and for Spring and Summer Vacation Schemes the application window opens 1st October to 31st December 2015.
Approximately 1 in 3 of our Vacation Scheme students across, Winter, Spring and Summer will have the opportunity to spend an additional week in one of our international offices. Our international Vacation Scheme takes place week commencing 11th July in 2016.
Individuals interested in the international opportunities can only apply if they accept a place on one of the London summer vacation placements. The selection process includes a short application form and an interview (via video conference) with a partner from the relevant office.
The destinations for the 2016 international vacation programme are: Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and New York. Please click here to read about some of the experiences previous vacation students have had in these cities.