The application process

It’s time to shine.

What we look for


We welcome people who are driven, future focused and creative. People who aren’t afraid to go beyond their comfort zone, and want to work at the forefront of their profession. At A&O, you should be ready to embrace change, challenge ways of working, and be keen to develop broad technological and commercial awareness outside your chosen specialism.

There’s no such thing as a typical Allen & Overy candidate. We’re open-minded and look for people who share that quality. We also mean it when we say your university and degree subject doesn’t matter – almost half of our trainee population are from non-law backgrounds and we do not have a shortlist of preferred universities.

We’ll look for the following skills and attributes throughout our selection process:

Mental Agility

Critical thinking



Applies a sharp and insightful mind to work challenges. Accurately analyses information, including numerical data.

Change Agility



Intellectual curiosity

Thrives on change and actively instigates innovative improvement. Is passionate about learning and keen to develop skills and knowledge to enhance performance.

People Agility


Emotional intelligence

Builds consistently excellent working relationships with clients and colleagues. Uses deep understanding of others, from all backgrounds, to adapt influencing style. A supportive colleague and team player.

Solutions Agility


Technology awareness

Drive & Motivation


Highly energetic with keen focus on results. 
Persists to overcome obstacles. Delivers work in an efficient, effective, timely and technology-savvy way. Meets deadlines and has a fine-tuned detail and quality ‘radar’.


All candidates must:

  • Be on track for or have achieved a minimum of a 2:1 (or equivalent) in their first degree in any discipline, and we ask you to provide all of your degree module grades on the application form (regardless of whether they count towards your degree)
  • Have achieved AAB (136 UCAS points) at A-level (or equivalent), and this must be achieved in three A levels taken in the same year and excludes General Studies

Please note we do consider mitigating circumstances when reviewing applications.

Interview adjustments

If you consider yourself to have a disability and would like to discuss any additional requirements that may need to be made during the selection process, please email Olivia Huntrods from the graduate recruitment team at to discuss your query in confidence.


Application process

At Allen & Overy, we pride ourselves on delivering an application process that is straightforward and transparent, allowing you to demonstrate your potential to become a good lawyer.

The online application form is your first opportunity to stand out, so make the most of it with thorough preparation. Make sure you use your strongest examples that demonstrate the skills we are looking for and, above all, good attention to detail.

Once you submit the application, you’ll be prompted to complete an immersive video based Situational Judgement Test (SJT), taking around 20 minutes. The SJT is designed to provide a realistic preview of what you may experience as a trainee at A&O.

View sample Situational Judgement Question

The same in-depth preparation should also go into your interview – we want you to shine, and to showcase your talents so that we can see your success as a trainee.

Top tips for your application:

  • Understand our requirements – prepare some examples to show that you have the skills we are looking for

  • Make the most of your experience – highlight what you’ve gained from your experiences

  • Be commercial – show an interest in the legal industry and what’s going on in the world and how it might affect us and our clients

  • Focus on this firm – of course we expect you to apply to other firms, but make sure you tailor your answers to demonstrate why Allen & Overy is right for you

  • Be technology aware – show interest in legal technology and demonstrate a good understanding of the growing benefits of the technology to the commercial sector

  • Be accurate – attention to detail is a fundamental skill of a lawyer



If your application is successful, the next stage will be an assessment day comprising of two one-on-one interviews.

The first interview is based on a commercial case study, where you’ll have time to work through a brief and prepare a short presentation to deliver to your interviewer. This will be followed by a discussion on the key points from the case study.

The second interview will assess your skills, knowledge, and motivation for a legal career at Allen & Overy. In addition, you will be asked a series of questions based on scenarios you may encounter as a trainee.

Top tips for your interview:

  • Revise and prepare – be well-versed on our firm and think of examples that demonstrate the skills we’re looking for

  • Make the right impression – be confident, self-assured and enthusiastic

  • Ask us insightful questions – it’s a two-way process, so ask us questions of genuine interest too



After your interview, we will aim to get back to you with a decision as quickly as possible.

Regardless of the outcome, we’re committed to providing constructive feedback on your performance throughout the process. This will help you to understand our decision and allow you to refine your interview technique and preparation for any future applications.

And, of course, if it’s good news, the Graduate Recruitment Team will be on hand to support you in your decision-making process.

When should I apply?

Please take time to familiarise yourself with our application deadlines – this will help you to plan your application around your other commitments, and enable you to research our firm sufficiently before submitting your application form to us.

Please note that you may only apply once each academic year for either a Training Contract or a Vacation Scheme.

If you have any questions before you apply you may want to visit our FAQ and Application Timeline pages or contact our team at

We will be inviting candidates forward to interview on a first come, first served basis, so we would encourage you to complete your application as soon as you can.

Open day applications

The Open Day will take place in spring and applications will open 14 January to 14 February 2019.

Our Open Day is available to those who are in any year of study at university (except first years, who should apply to A&O First) or those who have already graduated.

Vacation Schemes

Applications are open 1 October to 31 December 2018. Those applying to the Winter Vacation Scheme should apply before applications close on 31 October to allow for assessment in advance of when the scheme takes place on 10 – 14 December 2018.

Our Vacation Schemes are open to students in their penultimate or final year of study or for those who have already graduated. You can apply to attend a Vacation Scheme in either Winter or Summer.

Please note that you may only apply once every academic year for a Vacation Scheme or Training Contract with us.

Training Contracts

Applications are open 1 October to 31 December 2018.

Our Training Contract vacancies are open to students in their penultimate or final year of university or those who have already graduated. You will be asked to clearly state on the application when you will be available to start at Allen & Overy.