The Legal Cheek View
Allen & Overy is everything you’d expect from a magic circle law firm. It’s huge (with a whopping 45 offices in 32 countries), has a longstanding reputation for representing the establishment (the firm’s co-founder, George Allen, famously advised King Edward VIII during the abdication crisis of 1936) and offers great perks.
The free on-site gym, where trainees can work out alongside their colleagues and bosses, is a highlight; as is the top-rated firm canteen and the, er, flu jabs. Yes, A&O famously ensures that its lawyers are given anti-illness injections. And should any still succumb to health problems, there’s an in-house doctor. With such first rate support, no wonder those billing targets are set at a chunky 1,750 hours annually.
Still, work/life balance at A&O is better than some of its magic circle rivals, with the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey finding the average time to depart the office to be a relatively sane 8:06pm. A latish 9:30am average arrival time means the firm’s lawyers get more of a lie in than many. But as with any top law firm, hours vary wildly – with some late nights/early mornings and weekends standard in the run-up to closure of a deal.
Those seeking a break from the London grind have a very good chance of bagging an international secondment – with around half of trainees spending time abroad with the firm. Popular destinations include Dubai and Singapore, but there is a smorgasbord of other options.
Towards the bottom of the list of most London trainees’ choices is likely to be Belfast, the location of the low cost support centre that A&O opened up 2012. Despite the success of the venture, there are some tensions between the firm’s Northern Irish and English bases – not least because of the vast discrepancies in pay. But well-fed London rookies should beware complacency, with Legal Cheek spies informing us that A&O’s management have been rather impressed with some Belfast trainees, whose fluency in legal process outsourcing could see them well-positioned to rise through the ranks.
Finally, it would be remiss to fail to mention A&O’s pension scheme. One of the most generous schemes in the business is not so exciting to contemplate when you’re in your 20s, but with the unofficial City lawyers retirement age standing at around 55 it could come in handy one day.