This review was submitted over 4 years ago, so some of the information it contains may no longer be relevant.
It was one of the best first year law schemes that I had attended, mainly because it was not only one day, but two half-days spanned across a few months. This ensured continuity and the room for participants to establish a sustained relationship with their buddies, who are current trainees at A&O.
I felt really taken care of and that they are genuinely interested in us and developing our skills through business games. They even gave us A&O hoodies with our names on it - that made us feel very special and welcome! As they sent along many members of graduate recruitment, as well as partners, associates and trainees, I could see that A&O was genuinely interested in us and spending time with us.
As much as I wanted, as we were each assigned a buddy. My buddy was very supportive and helpful in giving me application advice. She was very open to me asking any follow-up questions after the A&O First firm visit via email as well. Graduate recruitment was very open and specific with what they are looking for and genuinely helpful with specific questions.
The skills I learnt would not assist me in my degree as much perhaps, but that is the entire point of the exercise - to teach you things like commercial awareness and holistic thinking which you could not learn in your degree. The programme was only for one day, so one cannot expect to take away skills for life, but A&O did the best job possible to teach us valuable skills within a day's time!
Very well structured - there were clear sessions of application advice from the graduate recruitment team as well as the graduate recruitment partner (who was very helpful with giving advice beyond the normal "teamwork" or "commercial awareness" that you would normally hear from other law firms), then development of our skills through business studies.
A&O really made an effort for us to get a sense of the environment and the people. We got to talk to partners, associates and trainees. Considering that their time is really valuable, it was really insightful to talk to lawyers at all levels. The atmosphere amongst peers was collaborative, and peers I met there are now my friends.
Very valuable. It really motivated me and gave me all the information I needed to decide on applying to A&O for its vacation scheme. Again, this very much depends on how much you put into the programme too - A&O gives you a lot of information, but you have to customise it to your needs and interests through asking well thought-out questions during the programme.
They gave me very valuable insight. At the events there were lawyers from all levels - partners, associates and trainees. I really appreciated that as there are events at some other law firms that do not like to give up partner or associate time. The partners at A&O were also not stingy with their time - they stayed for a long time to chat to us and were very open about their experience.
Yes - again, this depends on how much you put into the programme. Since I asked trainees and my buddy to tell me about extra-curricular activities and A&O, they were very open about sharing their experiences. I learnt that apart from being obviously a top-quality law firm, A&O also takes care of the wellbeing of its employees.
Yes - A&O is a firm with a huge reputation, but it really requires insight days like A&O First to really understand what goes on behind that reputation. It is really important when it comes to application stage of vacation schemes and training contracts to have contacts in the firm that you could send emails to with your questions. Even if you think you might be slightly interested in commercial law, this is the programme for you.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
27th September 2016