Frequently asked questions.


Who is eligible to apply for A&O First?

We welcome applications from students who achieved a minimum of AAB or equivalent at A-level, are considering a career in commercial law and are in the first year of a three year course or second year of a four year course of their undergraduate degree.

You do not need to study law to apply; we accept applications from all degree disciplines.

What is the application process?

To apply for A&O First, you must complete an online application form. Successful candidates will be invited to complete a short video interview. All candidates will find out the outcome of their application after 11 February 2021.

What do you look for in applicants?

We’re looking for students who have shown initiative by getting involved in lots of different things at school and university, so we are keen to find out about your extra-curricular activities.

You should demonstrate a genuine interest in finding out more about commerical law as a potential career path and explain why you are applying for this opportunity with A&O specifically. We’re looking for a strong academic performance to date, but no previous legal work experience is required.

Who will be my trainee buddy?

Your trainee buddy will provide support to you before, during and after the scheme. They can provide you with an insight into trainee life and also answer any questions you may have.

What are the benefits of participating in A&O First?

During the scheme participants will get the opportunity to build their network at A&O and develop the skills we are looking for in future trainees. 

There is also the chance to be fast-tracked to interview for either a vacation scheme or training contract following completion of the scheme.


What are the academic requirements for vacation scheme applicants?

We are looking for applicants to have achieved AAB or equivalent at A-Level and are on track for/have already achieved a 2:1 in any undergraduate degree.

We do take into account mitigating circumstances, which may have affected your grades either at school or university and there is a space on the application form to include these.

Can I do a vacation scheme in my second year of a four-year course?

No, unfortunately not. Our vacation schemes are for those in their penultimate year of study, final year or those who have already graduated. However, you can apply for A&O First.

What work experience should I include in my application?

We are looking for applicants to include work experience that is both legal and non-legal. What's important is that you think about the skills you developed during those experiences and the knowledge you gained.

In addition to formalised work experience, please include: events, open days, society memberships and anything you think would add value to your application and show your drive and commitment for a legal career. 

What are vacation scheme students paid?

We pay our vacation scheme students £450 per week. This wage is paid regardless of the format of the scheme (virtual or in person.)

What does the vacation scheme interview process entail?

All interviews at the moment are being conducted virtually. The format will remain the same: one case study interview with a partner and a scenario based interview with HR or a Senior Associate. Both interviews are one hour in duration. Prior to the case study interview, there will be 40 minutes of preparation time.

How am I assessed during my vacation scheme?

Vacation scheme students will be assessed throughout the scheme to see if they are demonstrating the skills and attributes we look for. We base hiring decisions on our assessment framework and use data/feedback from both your interview and performance during the scheme to reach a decision.

How many vacation schemes can I apply to per year?

Candidates can only apply for one opportunity each recruit cycle. So you will need to decide upfront if you would like to apply to the winter vacation scheme, summer vacation scheme or directly for a training contract.

All opportunities require you to submit an online application and complete the situational judgement test (SJT.) If you do not pass the SJT, you will have to wait until the next recruit cycle to reapply.


Do you mind where I study the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)?

We require all non-law candidates who have accepted a Training Contract prior to starting law school to study the GDL at the BPP Law School (we don’t mind if you study at their London or UK regional centres). If you have any extenuating circumstances which may affect where you can study the GDL, we would be happy to discuss this with you.

Why have you chosen to develop a bespoke LPC with LLM qualification for Allen & Overy?

It is vital our lawyers give commercial, business-focused advice as well as being experts in law and the new course will provide the foundations of legal practice through the LPC element, and the business element will develop your business awareness and equip you for a career in commercial law. On full completion of the course, you will receive an LPC with LLM qualification.

Do you choose my LPC electives?

As the Allen & Overy LPC with LLM qualification is tailored to the work we do, we have specified the electives that our trainees must take as these will provide the best foundation for their career with us. These electives are acquisition, debt finance, public companies and equity finance.

Do you provide financial assistance through law school?

When you accept our offer of a Training Contract, we will provide financial support for your law school studies.


How many people are in each Training Contract intake?

We recruit approximately 80-90 trainees a year and have two intakes, one in March and one in September.

Is it possible to start a Training Contract before or after the dates you are currently advertising?

We try and accommodate changes in start dates where possible. It is easier to be flexible the earlier you ask, so talk to the Graduate Recruitment Team at offer stage if you think you might be interested in changing your intake date.

Can I choose my seats during the Training Contract?

At the beginning of your Training Contract, you will map your path out with the HR for Trainees Team. You will discuss your areas of interest, talk through preferences and plan your movement through different areas of the practice. You will discuss your progress regularly with the HR for Trainees Team. Take a look at our Training Contract and practice areas for more information about where you can sit.

Can trainees do an international seat?

All trainees are able to apply for an international seat during their Training Contract, and this is usually undertaken during your final six months.

Can trainees undertake client secondments?

We have a number of client secondments available for trainees with financial institutions and corporates. As with international seats, trainees must apply for these and performance and career aspirations are taken into account.

How many trainees stay with Allen & Overy on qualification?

We aim to retain all our trainees on qualification. We recruit and train people that we believe will make a valuable contribution to our firm and invest a lot of time and money in them and our retention rate is on average between 80 – 90%.


I have a disability, are you able to provide adjustments and / or support?

Yes, we provide adjustments because we want you to be able to demonstrate your full potential during the recruitment process. It is advisable to inform us as soon as possible about the adjustments you may require in order to ensure that they are implemented on time.

What types of adjustments are available for someone who has a disability or health condition?

We can provide various adjustments that will enable you to perform your best at all stages of the recruitment process. Examples of adjustments we have made in the past include, but are not limited to, providing extra time; changing the format of an assessment; scheduling an interview at a specific time; and ensuring there is access.

Who can I contact about my application and disability?

If you have a specific question related to disability, please contact Charlie King who is our disability expert. All conversations will be confidential.

Should I tell you about my disability?

Yes, you should tell us as soon as possible if you require any adjustments or changes to the interview process. Failure to do so may result in adjustments not being made resulting in you not being able to demonstrate your full potential.