This review was submitted over 4 years ago, so some of the information it contains may no longer be relevant.
A&O organised a open day specifically focused on first years. This insight was one of the best I have had into the world of commercial law and the legal career. I would recommend all first year law and non-law students to apply to this if the want to learn a bit about commercial law, A&O and the way a big city firm functions.
The whole experience was personalised. Right from the minute I walked into the door all the administrators knew me by my first name. Everything from our itinerary to hoodies had our names on it. These small things matter as they should me that despite being a large city firm, everyone was known as an individual and not a statistic on a page. Throughout the day everyone from the senior associates to the trainees were approachable and friendly. I definitely left with more than one point of contact for any future enquiries into the firm
The presentations on commercial awareness and negotiation skills were in depth and extremely insightful. I definitely learned something new.
One of the the key skills we began to work on was negotiation. This is obviously a huge aspect of the career as a commercial lawyer and A&O presentation and workshop has ensured I feel more equipped in negotiating before the day started. Furthermore, the insight into commercial awareness means I can better prepare myself for my summer vacation scheme applications during my second year.
The day was perfectly planned in terms of time with a back to back itinerary that we were guided and supported through all of it.
The day was jam packed and exciting. I was constantly kept on my toes with back to back activities and presentations, all of which were extremely useful, insightful and perfectly timed. I definitely left having a much better insight into not just A&O but the world of commercial law.
As it was just one day, there was very little individual contact time. However, this did not stop the A&O team from making the day feel personalised. There focus right from the start was to treat us all as individuals. The administrative staff knew us right from the start by our first names and everything from our itineraries to hoodies were personalised. Furthemore, individual feedback was given to us after the negotiation workshop. These small things count in ensuring personal training despite part of a group.
As it was only a day it was difficult to envisage what life at A&O would be like. However, the experience definitely intrigued me and I will apply for a summer vacation scheme in order to better understand what it would be like to work in the firm.
The day was perfect in understanding the firm culture as we got to meet individuals from all aspects of the firm, from the trainees up to senior associates. Moreover through the way the day was planned and executed, it was very easy to understand the firms culture. If I had to summarise A&O's culture it would be friendly yet professional.
Well the day has definitely consolidated my interest in commercial law and moreover the aspect of commercial law that I wish to work in. Furthermore, it has confirmed my desire to apply to the firm for a vacation scheme during my second year.
A&O offered to reimburse any travel expenses to cover our costs of getting to and from the open day.
We had to speed networking sessions - one with the senior associates from all the major practice groups and one with the trainees over lunch.
Both of the networking sessions were extremely useful in breaking the professional barrier and giving us a first hand insight into the world of commercial law. Everyone I met was friendly, enthusiastic and extremely pragmatic with their advice. No one tried to dress it up or make the career seem anymore glamorous then it is which was very reassuring and refreshing. Furthermore, through the speed networking session with the trainees, I now have another contact point outside the HR team to answer my questions and queries about A&O and law.
A&O definitely take care of their employees and that was evident from the facilities of the firm. Moreover, all the staff we met informed us about a different social activity or sports club or event they were part off through the firm. The A&O lawyers definitely seemed to work hard, play hard.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in an insight into the firm, commercial law and the application process involved in becoming a solicitor.
Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
19th April 2014