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A&O follows Clifford Chance, Freshfields and Slaughters with virtual vacation scheme

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Mayer Brown, White & Case and Travers Smith summer internships also move online

Allen & Overy has followed fellow magic circle firms Clifford Chance, Freshfields and Slaughter and May, with confirmation that its summer vacation scheme will go ahead this year, remotely.

“Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis our summer vacation scheme will take place virtually this year,” a A&O spokesperson said in a statement.

The scheme will now run for one week, from 22 to 26 June, instead of the usual two weeks in June and July at its City of London headquarters. Participants will be paid for the week, the spokesperson confirmed.

Whilst the programme is running virtually, the content and aim of the programme remains the same — to assess students for a training contract. “Students will have the opportunity to gain first hand exposure of a number of core areas of A&O, be able to engage with our diversity networks as well as gain insight into the world of legal tech,” the statement continued.

Last month Clifford Chance announced its 2020 summer vacation scheme will be delivered remotely. Later that month Freshfields confirmed it had switched its summer scheme to a virtual format. We reported this week that Slaughters had moved to a virtual summer vacation scheme.

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Meanwhile, Mayer Brown has announced it is to replace both its two-week spring and summer vacation schemes for this year with a one-week virtual programme to be held in July. Students will receive one week’s salary, totalling £275.

In a statement, Stuart Pickford, training principal at Mayer Brown, said: “Against the backdrop of the ongoing challenges of the current crisis, we are pleased to confirm that our spring and summer 2020 vacation scheme students will be invited to take part in the firm’s virtual programme, to be held in July.”

Pickford continued: “We know how much participants value the experience that they gain from our schemes and we are working on a variety of tailored digital sessions for the virtual programme that will provide engaging insights into what it is like to be a trainee at Mayer Brown.”

Following completion of the virtual scheme candidates will be considered for training contracts, a spokesperson confirmed.

The update follows our previous report that Mayer Brown had postponed its 2020 spring vacation scheme until later in the year.

White & Case confirmed it is running a virtual summer vacation scheme, currently scheduled to go ahead in June, as originally planned.

Twenty-four participants will engage in live presentations with Q&A, training sessions, work assignments and opportunities to network with partners and associates, a spokesperson from the firm told Legal Cheek. They will be assessed for training contracts and paid the usual £500 per week.

White & Case partner, Inigo Esteve, who leads the firm’s solicitor trainee programme in London, said: “We are determined to continue offering students an opportunity to engage with White & Case and gain a valuable insight into life in a global law firm.”

He added: “The virtual format overcomes the challenge of the coronavirus and supports the career ambitions of participants at a time when social distancing prevents the scheme going ahead in-person.”

Travers Smith has also confirmed it will run a remote summer vacation scheme this year, with the aim of replicating a “normal” scheme as much as possible. The firm typically runs three summer vacation schemes from its London headquarters each year.

“Even though the Travers Smith student vacation scheme cannot progress in its original format, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the firm believes it is of vital importance to continue with the programme and provide students with an opportunity to gain an insight into the firm, its values and business as a whole,” a statement from the firm read.

The scheme will be optional and lasting one week, instead of the usual two weeks. However, participants will be paid as if they were attending the full two weeks.

The statement concluded: “We intend that students who wish to proceed with their application after the scheme will be invited back to the firm for an interview later in the summer.”

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