A&O Training Contract
Starting a Training Contract with Allen & Overy is just the beginning of what will be a stimulating and rewarding legal career. Throughout the two years of your Training Contract, we will work closely with you to ensure you have the right support to develop into a successful commercial solicitor.
You do not need to complete a vacation scheme with us in order to secure a Training Contract, in fact around half of A&O’s trainees did not undertake work experience with us before applying for a Training Contract.
The partners and associates you work with will make sure you are given variety and responsibility in your work. You will be expected to use your initiative, safe in the knowledge that you have a strong network of resources and support behind you.
The opportunities to apply for international and client secondments during the second year of training will allow you to experience the breadth of our work whilst ensuring you gain the depth of knowledge to help you make informed qualification choices.
We will help you become the most skilled, accomplished, business-focused lawyer you can be. Where your career takes you is then up to you.
A&O Training Contract
Your training will be based on four 6 month rotations (known as ‘seats’) through a number of departments or practice areas, where you will sit with a partner or an associate.
Soon after you start your Training Contract (where you will have had the chance to choose your first seat) you’ll meet with our HR Manager for Trainees, to create a seat plan tailored to your interests and aspirations. In addition to choosing your seats, you’ll discuss the length of individual seats, and explore the possibilities of international or client secondments. You’ll also nominate a ‘priority seat’ which means you’ll be guaranteed experience in a chosen department (subject to business need). Seats are available in all our practice areas, allowing trainees to experience the full range of work we do, with the priority seat system enabling you to spend time in an area that is of particular interest.
Our core transactional areas of expertise are Banking, Corporate and International Capital Markets, and as a trainee you will spend at least twelve months of your Training Contract gaining experience in at least two of these areas. Our trainees also need to gain contentious experience during their Training Contract which they do in our Litigation department. We now offer our trainees the option of completing a Litigation course to gain their contentious experience if they are sure their interests lie elsewhere.
The course is run by Nottingham Law School and consists of five days’ tuition and regular visits to a legal advice centre throughout your Training Contract to gain practical contentious experience (and provide valuable pro bono help).
We currently offer 37 international seats in 21 of our offices and trainees usually apply for secondments for the final six months of their Training Contract.
International secondments are useful as they provide trainees with an awareness of cultural and regional differences, which is especially important as most of the work we do is cross-border and international.
We also offer a number of client secondments, which enable our trainees to better understand our clients’ businesses, by working alongside them. These secondments normally take place in your final seat.
Alongside day-to-day work, we encourage our trainees to get involved with pro bono and community projects. As a trainee you could become involved in a number of initiatives such as giving free legal advice at the Battersea Legal Advice Centre evening surgery or working for organisations such as Interights. Last year, approximately 95% of our trainees got involved with one of our pro bono initiatives. Click here to find out more about our pro bono work.
The current salary for first year trainees is £42,000 rising to £47,000 in the second year of training. The current salary on qualification is £78,500.
Training and support
One of the things our trainees value most about being at Allen & Overy is the award-winning training they receive. In each seat, you will sit with a partner or associate who will provide you with support and guidance, and you will take an active and practical role in the department’s work, with plenty of individual responsibility along the way.
In addition to learning practical skills such as drafting, transaction management, research and legal and office procedures, the experience you gain as a trainee will develop your professional conduct, particularly with respect to negotiation and communication with clients and colleagues.
Our impressive in-house training covers a broad range of legal, personal and business skills to help you develop, not just as a lawyer, but also as a business person. Personal development is highly valued at Allen & Overy, and we offer a wide range of formal and informal training, from lunchtime seminars on the latest legal update to a one-to-one IT training. Foreign language training is also available where there is a business need.
Alongside your departmental work, you will complete the Professional Skills Course, which consists of three compulsory modules: client care and professional standards, advocacy and communication skills, and financial and business skills; plus elective modules specific to our needs, such as financial economics, developing business relationships and negotiating a deal.
Another advantage of training at Allen & Overy is the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top lawyers. As well as regular departmental training and updates, trainees can attend client seminars delivered by our partners and associates.
Training does not stop on qualification. At key points during your associate career, you will become eligible to attend the different stages of our bespoke global associate development programme, where you will be joined by colleagues from around the world. These sessions are run by internal and external experts, focusing on developing your strategic and commercial awareness and your ability to work effectively and with resilience. As you progress, the focus on managing client relationships and building a practice increases.
Each year, individual practice groups run a ‘university’ focused on specific technical skills and knowledge, to which all newly qualified associates are invited. Our practice groups also hold regular training sessions to update your knowledge in the area in which you are working.
We are open for both Training Contract and Vacation Scheme applications between 1 October and 31 December 2016. We close for Winter Vacation Programme applications on 31 October 2016.
You can choose to either apply for a vacation scheme with us (during which you will be assessed for a Training Contract) or apply directly for a Training Contract. Please remember you can only apply once in any 12-month period for a Training Contract or a vacation scheme with us.
Please note that we will be interviewing on a first-come first-serve basis in this application window, so early applications are strongly advised.
When applying, you will be asked to state which year you will be available to start at Allen & Overy (in either March or September).
Please note that if you are studying or have studied a qualifying law degree in England and Wales, you will need to complete the Allen & Overy MA Legal Practice Course (LPC) with Business after graduation. This course lasts for seven months and starts in either July or January, enabling you to commence employment at A&O in March or September, respectively. If you are unsure whether your degree falls into this category, please contact the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) for clarification.
If you have not studied a qualifying law degree, then you will need to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (12 months long) before taking the Allen & Overy MA Legal Practice Course (LPC) with Business described above.
Studied Pharmacology and completed a PhD at The University of Manchester.
During the course of my PhD I reached a point where I’d run out of love for the lab, so I decided to research careers outside of my field and considered where I could use the skills I’d developed. I was attracted to law as an opportunity to apply my research skills to a complex and evolving career. I attended a number of law fair presentations and found out quickly that I could relate to the people I met from A&O – they spoke with passion and also seemed to really enjoy the work.
I think what impressed me most when I first started as a trainee was the sense that I was working with people performing at the highest level. There’s also an appetite to ask questions and to keep finding ways of doing things better; ideas are welcomed no matter what level they come from and so even as a trainee, I know that I can contribute. A&O doesn’t have a hierarchical environment, and so it’s really easy to speak with partners and learn from them.
I’m currently sat in corporate M&A, which is my third seat. I’ve really enjoyed the involvement I’ve had with the clients, from small private companies to large listed companies, and I now have a much better understanding of how a number of different businesses operate. I started my training contract in banking and then moved into intellectual property litigation in my second seat. The breadth of experience has been fantastic and has given me such a great insight into different areas of both the law and A&O.
I’ve received a lot of support from the firm throughout my training. The culture is very open, people across the business are approachable so you can always ask questions – even the ones you think have an obvious answer! – and pick up the phone to someone who can help. There’s a lot of online know-how you can access too, for example, I was recently given the task of putting together the first draft of an asset purchase agreement. I was able to find examples of how to structure the document and advice on when you might include certain provisions based on the client’s business. It means you’re rarely starting from scratch and it’s then down to using your judgement and knowledge of the deal to include the relevant information. As a trainee these resources are invaluable and it means that you can take advantage of the firm’s experience and try to reach a solution independently before discussing with your trainer.
Some of the most challenging work I’ve done so far was in litigation. I had to get up to speed with a complex matter very quickly and understand the fine points of law so that I could prepare for a hearing in a pharmaceutical patent case. I was involved in drafting and collating documentation which would go before the judge, liaising with solicitors for the other party and assisting counsel in their preparations. It was really great to be in the hearing and see the pieces come together.
As a trainee you are usually working on several matters simultaneously so you need to be confident in your prioritisation and organisational skills. A key part of the training process is analysing the changes people have made to your drafting and, for your own development, understanding why those changes have been made. Trainers and associates are always happy to discuss these, which makes the learning process a lot easier.
The best advice I can offer is to make the most of the skills you have picked up along the way but also try to develop new ones, particularly in areas that will make you stand out. Taking on roles that involve co-ordinating a team or organising an event is a great starting point and will pay dividends as a trainee, and beyond.