First Year Programme

A&O First

A&O First

It’s time to see the bigger picture.

If you think a career in commercial law might be for you and are keen to find out more, then A&O First is a great place to start.

A&O First is much more than just work experience. It’s a programme with various touch points over the year and gives you access to a global support network designed to give you all the information, contacts and experience you need to decide whether a legal career at A&O is right for you.

The programme is packed full of insights, experiences and exposure to the work we do through work-shadowing and networking. During the scheme, we look to boost the skills we look for in future trainees such as technology and commercial awareness.

As part of the scheme you will have:

  • Access to our graduate recruitment team for advice and guidance
  • One-day workshops in April and September (depending on Covid restrictions the programme is either run virtually or in-person) where we will immerse you in the firm and all of our offerings, including Advanced Delivery & Solutions.
  • Ongoing support from a trainee buddy
  • Peer support – you will get to know students from other universities and degree disciplines also on the scheme
  • The opportunity to be fast-tracked to interview for either a Vacation Scheme or Training Contract


Students in their first year of a three year course or second year of a four-year course of an undergraduate degree from any degree discipline.

Application window

10 January 2022 - 10 February 2022

What we look for

We’ll be looking for your drive and commitment for a legal career, alongside curiosity to find out more about the firm, the clients we work with and sectors we operate in.

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

The online application form is your first opportunity to stand out, so be sure to pay attention to detail and think about the examples you use and whether they are demonstrating the skills & attributes we are looking for.

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.

View sample Situational Judgement Test Question

2.    Telephone Interview

If your application is successful, the next stage will be a telephone interview, which should take no longer than 30 minutes and will include a brief commercial case study. Following this we will be in touch to let you know if you’ve secured a place on the scheme.