First Year Programme

A&O First

A&O First

Your path to the exceptional begins here.

If you think a career in commercial law could 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 Allen & Overy 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 will help you boost the skills we look for in future trainees, such as technology and commercial awareness. You will see first-hand what it’s like to be part of our supportive community and get a sense of what we could help you achieve when you join us. 

As part of the scheme you will have:

  • Advice and guidance from our graduate recruitment team 
  • A 2-day programme in April and a returner day in September where we will immerse you in the firm and all our offerings
  • 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


We’re able to welcome students in their first year of a three-year (or second year of a four-year) undergraduate degree from any degree discipline.

Application window

8 January 2024 - 9 February 2024

Life Experience

At A&O, we value real life experiences just as much as work experience. It’s not something to shy away from on your application. It makes you who you are. Here’s how some of our people have brought their life experiences to a career at A&O. 

What we look for

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

As part of the application process at A&O you will be presented with some questions to which you will need to record a video response. You will be asked two motivational questions and you will have unlimited time to prepare but your actual response time will be limited to 2 mins.

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 Allen & Overy.

You can read our preparation tips to Situational Judgement Tests or take a practice test.

2.    Video Interview

If your application is successful, the next stage will be a video 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.