There’s much more to law.
It’s time to find common ground
We believe that our accepting, inclusive culture fosters an environment of support and dedication that empowers our people to do their best work. As well as our shared ambition and drive, our global network is united in our creativity, mutual respect and diversity of perspective and background.
Of course, ambition and drive are vital to succeeding in our competitive landscape, but we also acknowledge that it’s important for our people to have the time and space to relax and enjoy themselves outside of work by dedicating time towards other commitments.
We encourage everyone at the firm to pursue their interests, whether they are passions outside the office, or at the firm’s clubs and events. In addition, the firm’s commitment to pro bono and community investment work also offers our people the chance to experience and contribute to our inclusive culture.
Pro Bono & Community Investment
Achieve social change
Social justice and societal progress are firm-wide priorities. With unrivalled depth of expertise across our global network, we’re in a position to effect positive change on pressing issues all over the world, and help find solutions to society’s most serious problems. Our pro bono and community work is focussed on two major themes – access to justice and access to education and employment – adapted to the needs and priorities of local cultures.
Last year 50% of our lawyers across the entire firm took part in pro bono work, contributing nearly 44,000 hours worldwide. Whichever area of the firm they’re a part of, and whatever their area of expertise, we encourage all our people to take responsibility, get involved with volunteering and make an impact. As well as making a difference, it’s also an opportunity to develop empathetic listening and communication skills, both of which are transferrable skills when working with clients.
Across the world, we’ve worked with global human rights organisations like the Human Dignity Trust and with REDRESS, fighting to secure justice for survivors of torture and to challenge laws that criminalise lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people across the world. Closer to home, our qualified lawyers and trainees advise at legal advice clinics across London and support charities with end-to-end casework, defending the rights of those who cannot afford a lawyer. A career in law gives you so many opportunities to make an impact beyond the business world.
Our Community Investment programmes support a wide-range of educational, employability and local community organisations. Opportunities to get involved include volunteering for our flagship social mobility programme, Smart Start, through to our employability programme ReStart helping older people return to work. We also partner with charities like the Fair Education Alliance - a collation of over 170 organisations working towards ending educational inequality in the UK.
To find out more, read our pro bono and community investment magazine, Increasing Access.
Our Minds Matter programme encourages an open culture where we can discuss our mental health, provide support where it’s needed and champion working practices which facilitate positive mental health for all. There are extensive resources available to trainees. Some are specific to the country you are working in and others are available globally.
In the UK, we currently provide access to support through our Employee Advice Line and Private Medical Insurance. All trainees globally have free access to wellbeing apps (Headspace and Unmind) and the majority of offices have an Employee Assistance Programme. There are more than 40 Mental Health Advocates – partners and senior support professionals across the business globally. We are signed up to the Mindful Business Charter, provide online mental health awareness training globally through Unmind and host a programme of wellbeing talks and seminars. We are a member of the City Mental Health Alliance and a partner of This Can Happen an organisation whose vision is to empower workplace mental health.
A multi-jurisdictional acquisition
We acted for Bayer to support its USD57bn financing acquisition of U.S agrochemical giant Monsanto. The deal was executed across our New York, Frankfurt and London offices.
Creating the Middle East’s Largest Lender
We acted for NBAD on its merger with First Bank Gulf PJSC, which will create an institution worth approximately USD175bn on completion.
DISPUTES AND INVESTIGATIONS
South Stream Transport
We worked with South Stream Transport, part of Gazprom, in an ICC arbitration with Saipem relating to a gas pipeline from Russia under the Black Sea into Europe. This was one of the largest construction arbitrations of recent years.
Kuwait’s first bond issuance
We assisted Kuwait on its first international bond issuance to a value of USD8bn – one of the largest ever by a sovereign state.
Vietnam’s largest IPO
We advised VietJet, Vietnam’s leading low-cost airline, on its USD170m IPO on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange.
DISPUTES AND INVESTIGATIONS
Enforcing medical patents
We acted for Pfizer in its patent for the blockbuster Lycria against Actavis and a number of generic companies in Europe.
Leasing fifty airliners
We supported four syndicates of nine lenders on the lease financing of 50 Airbus A330s and A320s to Saudi Arabian Airlines.
Electricity generation in Africa
We supported the Africa Finance Corporation and the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund on the establishment of a joint venture to generate 1,575 megawatts of electricity.
DISPUTES AND INVESTIGATIONS
We’ve worked with Google on a number of projects including a survey of atypical workers. Work has involved offices in New York, London and Hong Kong, the Belfast Legal Services Centre and Peerpoint consultants
A&O on Instagram
LAUNCH: Episode 1 - There is more than one way into law
In this episode of Launch, our host, Bianca Vasilache, a final-seat trainee, is joined by MaameYaa Kwafo-Akoto, a senior associate in the funds and asset management group, who shares her unconventional journey into law and the valuable lessons she has learnt along the way. From doing a part-time GDL due to her full-time job and making cakes for Wrap It Up! to cover her LPC living expenses, to working as a paralegal for a few years and having her training contract delayed because of the financial crisis, MaameYaa’s story is an inspiring example of how to make your own opportunities.