After participating in A&O First, I was able to attend a further international insight scheme at Allen & Overy's Brussels office.
Participants could choose which practice area they would like to get an insight into, and my time in the Banking department was both enjoyable and informative. Both the junior associate buddies in Brussels and the trainees in London were very helpful, and taught me a lot about aspects of their work which helped me to understand the job of a solicitor at an international firm.
In the second half of the day I was able to get an insight into IP and Public Law, thus the range of experience into the practice areas I gained from A&O First and the international scheme is unparalleled.
I felt very valued by A&O, and everybody at the firm made me feel welcome during my time with them. We were certainly looked after during the international visit, with lunches and travel being provided for participants. A&O even provided participants of the international insight with a centrally located hotel, meaning that we were able to experience Brussels in the evening.
I received a lot of support during the insight scheme in both London and Brussels. This is because graduate recruitment organised the scheme to ensure that participants made the most out of it, and were able to take away both skills and experience. My trainee buddy was also very supportive as she was willing to answer any questions that I had about life at A&O.
The skills and information that I received from participating in this insight are undoubtedly going to be helpful in applying for a vacation scheme/TC. This is because I was able to gain first-hand knowledge of practice areas from shadowing a trainee in London's Corporate department, and junior associates in Brussels that I would not have been able to get elsewhere.
Additionally, the sessions organised in London were helpful as they enabled me to develop skills which will be useful for interviews.
A&O First was very well structured, with skills sessions being run in the morning, and shadowing taking place in the afternoon. You are asked which department you would like to visit in advance, meaning that you are able to choose one of interest to you.
The international visit to Brussels was equally well structured, with participants being able to spend the evening in Brussels before a whole day of shadowing at the office in a practice area of your choice.
The general atmosphere during the insight was always good. Everybody that I met during my time at the firm was friendly and helpful. Graduate recruitment were consistently supportive and ensured that participants made the most out of the insight scheme by organising useful skills sessions, and the shadowing of a trainee buddy which you can then keep in contact with.
A&O invested a lot of time into their A&O First scheme participants. The skills sessions organised by graduate recruitment increased my legal and business awareness, in addition to skills which will be useful to have for a career in law, such as team work.
The scheme also provided me with a lot of professional development as I was able to network with a range of people at A&O, all of which helped me to understand the job of a solicitor at an international firm.
A&O First went beyond work experience and genuinely helped me to understand the work of a trainee at the firm. The insight provided me with the information, contacts and experience that will support me in my career development, as I was able to get first-hand experience that has helped me to understand the role of a trainee at Allen & Overy.
The further visit to Brussels helped me to understand how A&O's international network operates, and what an international legal career might be like.
The first-hand experiences and exposure to A&O through the work-shadowing gave me a genuine insight into the company culture. The trainees, associates, partners, and graduate recruitment team were friendly and supportive. I experienced a friendly and supportive atmosphere in both the London and Brussels offices.
A&O First was a valuable experience in helping me to decide that I want to go into a legal career. The work-shadowing, skills sessions and networking opportunities were all useful in enabling me to make a more informed choice as to whether a career in law is right for me.
Reimbursed for travel and provided with accommodation and travel during the international visit.
There were plenty of opportunities for networking and meeting other employees of the firm. During a networking lunch I was able to meet other people within the firm alongside my trainee buddy, and participants were also able to meet people from Fuse.
During the international visit I was also able to meet junior associates and partners from Banking, IP and Public Law.
There were plenty of networking opportunities throughout the course of the scheme, including a networking lunch, the opportunity to network with your trainee buddy, and the chance to network with other participants who are interested in pursuing a legal career.
The social opportunities such as going to Bounce at the end of the first day in London was a great way to network in a more informal environment.
There were also plenty of networking and social opportunities in Brussels, such as being able to explore the city with the other participants and a member of graduate recruitment, and having a networking lunch with the junior associates.
There are plenty of sports clubs, networks, and pro bono initiatives to get involved with at A&O. The insight scheme included a talk on these pro bono initiatives, and the importance of the pro bono work that A&O does. A&O First also included a 'Meet the Networks' lunch, which was helpful in learning about the various networks that A&O has to offer.
A&O First is definitely worth applying to if you are looking to decide whether a legal career, and a career at A&O, is for you. You gain information, contacts and the experience that you need to make an informed decision before applying for vacation schemes/training contracts. The scheme goes beyond work experience, and provided me with further international opportunities, a support network, and skills sessions that have helped me to better understand a career in law, and a career with Allen & Overy.