The scheme was simply great. It covered a wide variety of aspects of the firm and helped me develop professionally. The skills workshops conducted were all relevant and very well-structured. I learned a lot more about specific practice areas through my work shadowing opportunities, and was fortunate enough to visit one of A&O's international offices.
I felt very valued by everyone that I encountered at the firm. People were very open to have conversations and discuss both their time at the firm as well as any tips that they might have for prospective lawyers. My trainee buddy introduced me to many of her colleagues, who also made me feel equally welcome.
The scheme was well organised from the start. We received itineraries days in advance of going to the firm each time, and were always aware of what would be happening next. When I had questions or doubts about anything that had been mentioned, I was able to ask and support was ready at all times. I also received support between office visits (over the summer and beyond) from my trainee buddy.
The skills sessions that took place throughout the scheme were well tailored to the needs of an international commercial lawyer. Being a languages student, they are not necessarily all skills that will directly aid me in my studies. Having said this, they will without a doubt be of use for my future career and life in general.
The scheme was well structured from the start. We received itineraries days in advance of going to the firm each time, and were always aware of what would be happening next. The structure of the days also allowed for a good mix and order of active and more passive activities.
The atmosphere was great. Right from the first day, the A&O team made the participants feel very welcome and helped us to get to know each other. From there onwards, everyone got along and I am very grateful to have met such an intelligent group of individuals. Fun activities kept the atmosphere light whilst the welcoming nature of the firm made me feel comfortable.
Through carefully chosen skills sessions, I felt that the firm invested in my professional development by providing training on competencies that will be useful to me for a career in law. The work shadowings that I carried out in the International Capital Markets and Banking and Finance Departments also enhanced my understanding of these areas of law. Overall, I feel that the firm invested well in me and my development.
Having countless opportunities to talk to lawyers at all levels within the firm (trainees, associates and partners), I was able to gauge rather well what it would be like to work at the firm in a full time role. Everyone was very honest about their experiences and helped me grasp the roles they played by accurately portraying their day-to-day life.
By spending lots of time with the lawyers themselves, I received genuine opinions regarding the firm's culture thanks to numerous conversations I had with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds. Just speaking to these people allowed me to grasp the culture that binds them - a very open and friendly one that spans their offices worldwide.
The skills workshops tailored for work as an international commercial lawyer, as well as the time I spent shadowing trainees in three different areas of the firm, aided me in deciding that this was the future career path for me. I also received lots of helpful advice from the people I spoke to.
I was reimbursed for my travel expenses for all the trips that I took to be able to attend all days. This also included an international trip to the A&O Paris office to see the firm's global network in action. Overall, I was pleased with this and found it to be a very fair approach.
Each time I visited the firm, there were several opportunities to meet other employees of the firm and network with them. This included networking lunches, work shadowings and coffee meetings with my trainee buddy and her colleagues. I was also able to network with the Graduate Recruitment team throughout the scheme.
As mentioned before, there were a variety of networking opportunities with employees from the firm. There were also events tailored more towards networking within the group of participants, such as the ping pong club (Bounce) that we went to in the evening after one of the scheme days. The light-heartedness of the events made getting to know people very easy.
We received talks on pro-bono opportunities available to employees, as well as the charities that the firm had partnered with to carry out activities. I would have liked to have heard more about sports teams and clubs that employees can get involved in, but was able to find out more about these from my trainee buddy anyway.
I would definitely recommend this insight scheme to anyone! It was truly a great opportunity for me to meet an entirely new group of people that I would never have come across otherwise, and I discovered much more about A&O and what it has to offer. The scheme was fun, useful and most of all inspiring as I now look forward to preparing myself for a future career in law.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
1st October 2018