Diversity & Inclusion

Belong to a collective. Excel as an individual.

Belong. Excel.

These aren’t words on a page. For us, they are inseparable, non-negotiable cornerstones that support everything we do and achieve as a business. We know that unless our people truly feel like they belong here, we can never excel.

When diverse organisations bring people and perspectives together, our solutions are stronger and more sustainable. But that doesn’t happen by accident. Equity and diversity require a truly inclusive environment. That’s why fostering a culture where our people are accepted for who they are and feel able to truly reach their full potential has been a priority for us for many years.


We all excel when we’re empowered.

We’re committed to fostering a culture that drives diversity, equity and inclusion. We’re proud of our achievements for creating a work environment where our people feel that they can bring their authentic selves to work. Where they can be comfortable, open, and expressive. Where they truly belong.

We hold ourselves accountable, and believe that it’s important to be transparent about where we are and where we’re going. That’s why we’ve made our inclusivity reports public.


We run a number of diversity programmes in collaboration with partner organisations to ensure we’re as inclusive as possible.

Black Aspiring Solicitors Scheme (BASS) with Aspiring Solicitors

Established in 2019, this scheme includes a series of virtual and/or in-person workshops hosted from September to November. The workshops are designed to upskill, develop application skills and commercial awareness, and give useful insights into working in commercial law.  Learn more

Aspiring Solicitors Women in Law

This event increases the understanding and awareness of the challenges facing female lawyers in private practice and in-house. Learn more

Rare Articles

Articles is a multi-award-winning development programme for candidates from Black Heritage applying for vacation schemes and training contracts, consisting of one-to-one coaching sessions, in-person group sessions and support with applications and interviews. Learn more

Future City Lawyers

British Inter-University Commercial Awareness Competition (BIUCAC) was created to level the playing field and provide a platform for non-Russell Group law schools to showcase their outstanding talent to leading law firms. Learn more

Smart Start

This programme provides young people facing socio-economic barriers with access to high-quality work experience. Learn more

A&O REACH Mentoring Scheme

This scheme is run by our Race & Ethnicity network. It offers mentorship during and beyond schemes and is focused on improving the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities within the firm. The scheme is also deeply committed to enabling social mobility regardless of racial or ethnic background.

Our partnerships

We’re partnering with a range of organisations to empower diversity, equity and inclusion, beyond our walls. We know that we can’t tackle widening access on our own, we need to work collaboratively with partnerships and those who are experts in the space to drive real change and widen our reach.

Then & Now

Our A&O Lawyers all started from somewhere. From all kinds of backgrounds. Through every stage of their life, from personal to professional and the challenges along the way, our lawyers look back on the journeys that got them where they are today. 

Our recent achievements

We’re delighted to win awards and accolades for the way we support everyone who works here, helping them feel like they truly belong. 

Social Mobility Employer Index

We’re ranked #7 in the 2023 Social Mobility Employer Index.


We’ve been named Social Mobility Employer of the year at The Student Social Mobility Awards by upReach.


We’re proud to be part of the 2023 Stonewall Top Global Employer for LGBTQ+ list.

Business in the Community

For a third year in a row, we’ve been included in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women, an initiative run by charity Business in the Community.

The world needs different.

We’re proud of the progress we’ve made. But in order to continue in our ambition of achieving true diversity, equity and inclusion, we’re committed to ensuring that we welcome graduates to our firm from all backgrounds.

Equity in applications.

When it comes to early careers, we understand that not all candidates’ achievements look the same, and we want to recruit the best people from every background. One of the ways in which we do this is by using the Rare Contextual Recruitment System (CRS). We use the information provided as part of the CRS to review applications in the context of each individual’s social and educational background. This enables us to consider whether somebody has, for example, overachieved considering their wider personal circumstances.

To keep improving diversity at A&O, we need to measure it. This is why we will also ask applicants to complete an Equal Opportunities form as part of their application. This information will not be visible to those shortlisting or interviewing candidates, but will be used solely for the purposes of monitoring our equal opportunities policy and ensuring we have a fair and equal process.


We’re making social change, all over the world.

Pro Bono

Social justice and societal progress are firm-wide priorities. Last year, our lawyers delivered nearly 49,000 hours of pro bono and community investment work. Whichever area of the firm they’re a part of and whatever their area of expertise, we encourage all our people to take responsibility, volunteer and make an impact. With so much expertise across our global network, we’re in a position to effect positive change on pressing issues all over the world and help find solutions to society’s most serious problems.

Across the world, we’ve worked with global human rights organisations like the Human Dignity Trust and with REDRESS, working to secure justice for survivors of torture and to challenge laws that criminalise lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people across the world. Closer to home, our lawyers and trainees volunteer at legal advice clinics across London and support charities, advising individuals who cannot afford a lawyer. A career in law at Allen & Overy is your chance to make an impact far beyond the business world alone. 

To find out more, read our pro bono and community investment magazine, Increasing Access.

Community investment

Our Community Investment programmes support a wide range of educational, employability and local community organisations. Opportunities to get involved include volunteering for our flagship social mobility programme, Smart Start, through to our employability programme ReStart helping older people return to work. We also partner with charities like the Fair Education Alliance – a collation of over 200 organisations working towards ending educational inequality in the UK.

To find out more, read our pro bono and community investment magazine, Increasing Access.


Minds Matter

Supporting our colleagues and communities.

Belonging and excelling relies on openness. Our Minds Matter programme encourages an open culture where we can discuss our mental health, provide support where it’s needed and champion working practices which facilitate positive mental health for all. There are more than 40 Mental Health Advocates – partners and senior support professionals across the business globally.

In the UK, we currently provide access to support through our Employee Advice Line and Private Medical Insurance. All trainees globally have free access to wellbeing apps (Headspace and Unmind), and most offices have an Employee Assistance Programme.

We are signed up to the Mindful Business Charter, provide online mental health awareness training globally through Unmind and host a programme of wellbeing talks and seminars. We are a member of the City Mental Health Alliance and a partner of This Can Happen – an organisation whose vision is to empower workplace mental health.


Our People Networks

Allen & Overy is made up of many different communities intersecting and collaborating with each other to continually strengthen who we are together.