Vacation Schemes

Vacation Scheme

Vacation Schemes

Everything you’re aiming for.

It can be difficult trying to differentiate one firm from another. That’s why our Vacation Schemes are a great way to experience our cutting-edge work and collaborative culture.

As part of the scheme, you’ll gain real and valuable experience from day one, working alongside our lawyers on live deals and cases. There are a plethora of events and presentations to attend where you’ll learn about key elements of our practice while developing the skills you need to be a successful international commercial lawyer.

But it’s not all work and no play. There’s plenty of time to socialise with our graduate recruitment team, lawyers and partners as well as the other students on your scheme - broadening your knowledge of the firm and building your network.

We offer the flexibility of two schemes across Winter and Summer, with students joining us in their penultimate or final year of undergraduate study or who have already graduated. The aim of the scheme is to give you an insight into our people and culture, alongside giving you exposure to the work we do and a taster of the responsibility you can have as a trainee. An opportunity across both schemes is participation in our REACH Buddy Scheme. This is a mentoring scheme that is run by A&O’s Race & Ethnicity network. It offers mentorship during the scheme and beyond 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.

All those successful at interview and invited to participate will be paid £450 per week, as well as be considered for a training contract regardless of the format of the scheme (virtual or in person.)


Students currently in penultimate or final year of study, and graduates across all degree disciplines.

Application window

Winter Vacation Scheme
17 August 2021 - 13 October 2021

Summer Vacation Scheme
13 September 2021 - 15 December 2021

Apply Now

What we look for

We look for individuals with potential: open-mindedness, innovation, collaboration, critical thinking. These are the skills that will set your application apart and set you up for success. There isn’t one ‘type’ of person we’re looking for: we welcome applications from all graduates who are passionate about commercial law and innovation, regardless of the university they attended and the degree they earned.

Our clients rely on us for more than just outstanding legal advice – they trust us to guide them through uncertain times, deliver business growth and advise them on the future. If you have the ability, ambition and the determination to make that happen, then you’ll thrive as a Vacation Scheme candidate.

Our academic requirements are AAB (136 UCAS points) or equivalent at A-Level and on track for/achieved a 2:1 undergraduate degree. We do take into account mitigating circumstances, including those relating to a disability, which may have affected your grades either at school or university and there is a space on the application form to include these.

Application Process

1. Online Application

You will be required to submit an online application which details your work and education history. There will also be two short application questions to complete.

You will then be prompted to complete an immersive video based Situational Judgement Test (SJT) which includes verbal and numerical reasoning items. The test is untimed and should take around 30-40 minutes.  The SJT is designed to provide a realistic preview of what you may experience as a trainee at A&O.

You will be given 48 hours in which to complete the test. We advise you submit your online application at least 48 hours prior to the deadline to give you time to complete both the online application and SJT by the deadline.


2. Interviews

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 you will be asked a series of questions based on scenarios you may encounter as a trainee. 

3. Offer

After your interview, we will review your performance across both interviews and 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 interview performance.