Overview

Introduction

Magic Circle-firm Allen & Overy handles significant international matters as it continues to grow in the U.S. Associates are treated to a collegial culture, and they appreciate the firm’s Compass program that allows them to receive ongoing feedback. As one would expect from a megafirm, A&O counsels in a wide variety of areas, from asset management and litigation to corporate and M&A to financial services regulation and regulatory compliance to securitization and tax—and everything in between.

Firm Stats


More

Total No. Attorneys (2021)


More

No. of Partners Named (2021)


More

Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100...


More

No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2020)



More

No. of Summer Associates (2021)



More

Base Salary

All offices:...

Vault Verdict

A&O uses situational interviewing to identify best-qualified candidates, and an international mindset is important. Attorneys here are down-to-earth and have a teamwork mentality, and whether you choose to socialize or head home after work, your choice will be respected. Associates feel that partners truly care about them as people and professionals. There are frequent emails and regular town halls to provide firm updates, but associates feel a little in the dark when it comes to promotions and the path to partnership. There is a 2,000 billable-hours target, which includes an allowance of 150 pro bono hours and, reportedly, some leeway when it comes to bonuses. Compensation is market, and the firm matched the recent COVID special bonuses. Busyness can fluctuate day-to-day,...

About the Firm

Allen & Overy stands as not only one of the U.K.’s most prestigious law firms—a pillar of the vaunted Magic Circle—but one of the largest firms in the world in terms of revenue. From three U.S. locations in Los Angeles; New York; and Washington, DC—and 155 U.S.-based attorneys—the firm continues to make its imprint on the American map.

Royally Big

Founders George Allen and Thomas Overy left a firm called Roney & Co. to open shop in London in 1930. It was George Allen’s representation of King Edward VIII during his 1936 abdication to marry American Wallis Simpson that really made the firm’s name (at the time, no scandal was bigger). In the decades that followed, A&O became one of London’s most prominent legal shops. 

Today, A&O has ...

Associate Reviews


  • “A&O is a law firm of down-to-earth and reasonable people. Everyone gets along; everyone works together; and everyone keeps perspective. It is a blessing to work with a firm of this culture in an otherwise cut-throat industry.”
  • “Very collegial. Of course, COVID-19 restrictions have altered this somewhat, but the firm has regularly scheduled ‘virtual’ events during the pandemic; for example, we have had a wine-tasting event, film screenings, and even just casual/informal meet-and-greet mixers.”
  • “Everyone at Allen & Overy is so nice. I joined during the pandemic and was welcomed in with open arms. I do not have a single complaint.”
  • “A lot of respect for family time. Prior to the pandemic, my experience was that, after work, people with kids went home directly. But there was always a good group of people that would frequently socialize together after work. Great day-to-day feeling overall. Collegial work environment and a lot of mutual respect.”
  • “Our partners are wonderful and treat associates with respect and show a real dedication to growing and developing associates. Our partners care about us as people and as young attorneys, and it shows.”
  • “Partner/associate relationships are great. Partners really do make an effort to connect with associates and have informal, in addition to formal, relationships. The firm makes an effort, but there could be more transparency in performance reviews and promotions.”
  • “… In terms of transparency, we have semi-regular office ‘town hall’ meetings at which questions are encouraged, and informational emails get sent out when needed (and more frequently than usual since the onset of the pandemic). Partners are generally happy to answer specific questions about what is happening as well, often in more detail than is presented in the general broadcasts.”
  • “I have been very satisfied with my workload over the past year. The litigation department does an excellent job of ensuring that the associates are neither overworked or underutilized, and that work is evenly distributed. I will say that the group is very busy in general now, which is a great problem to have.”
  • “Like any transactional practice at any law firm, there are fluctuations in workflow and some periods of intense busyness. However, it is managed pretty well at A&O, partly with formal workflow coordinators, but mostly on an informal basis because everyone works as a team and cares about their colleagues. …”
  • “The work is not overwhelming, and people respect one another's time. Perhaps as a result of its European origins, vacation time is sacred; everyone seems willing to account for the absence of another member of the team, knowing they too will receive the same treatment when they take vacation themselves.”
  • “2,000 billable target. Up to 150 pro bono hours counts towards the 2000 target. Work is evenly distributed and monitored by the assigning partner.”
  • “The firm pays market and matched the special bonuses; no complaints.”
  • “Very satisfied with compensation received from firm.”
  • “[The] billables requirement is extremely unofficial, and bonus is all but guaranteed for anyone who puts in effort and does good work, regardless of billables.”
  • “Since my first year at A&O, I have worked on interesting, substantive matters that have helped me grow my legal skills and develop contacts inside and outside the firm that will serve me well in my career. The work is challenging, interesting, and satisfying. …”
  • “Yes, as a junior (now second year), I often assist with drafting ancillary transaction documents (officers’ certificates, resolutions, simple transaction documents) and assist with review/comment of more primary transaction documents (share purchase agreements, for example); maintain signing/closing checklists; draft due diligence reports; and so forth. On the most recent transaction I worked on, I acted as the lead associate on preparing the disclosure schedules to a share purchase agreement on a large (multi-billion dollar) M&A transaction.”
  • “Yes, I definitely spend most of my time on substantive legal work that is appropriate for my level. As a mid-level white collar associate, I have been leading investigative interviews [and] document review teams and drafting investigative and due diligence memos that go directly to the client. It has been a great experience, and I'm grateful that the partners I work with 1) trust me with these tasks, and 2) provide feedback that is extremely beneficial for my development.”
  • “Nearly all of my time is on substantive legal work appropriate for my level. Quality of work is generally high, though at times focus in the NY office is supporting international deals, which can result in NY attorneys managing only parts of a deal as opposed to taking [a] leading role on [the] overall deal.”
  • “The firm has adapted incredibly well to remote working. We make efficient use of WebEx, MS Teams, and Zoom (whatever our teams and clients find to be best). And the firm has also offered to provide each attorney with two desktops, a keyboard, a mouse, and a laptop port on the firm, and this has certainly helped with efficiency.”
  • “The remote working technology has worked fairly well. The firm has provided a lot of support in terms of hardware and reimbursement for other necessary technology. The IT support has been good, especially considering that we coincidentally switched document management platforms right around the start of the remote work period.”
  • “[The] firm has always been pretty flexible in terms of modes of working. It has done very well in the pandemic on this and firm leadership seems committed to making sure that we keep a high degree of flexibility in place going forward.”
  • “The firm offers one-on-one wellness coaching and virtual counseling services, hosts wellness sessions, and provides employees with mindfulness apps like Headspace and Unmind. The firm also has several workshops on financial wellness throughout the year to close the loop between physical health, mental health, and financial health.”
  • “… Only emails with meditation links and with information about mental health. However, we have not received exercise or nutrition programs.”
  • “The firm offers one-on-one wellness coaching and virtual counseling services. The partnership also is very serious about encouraging associates to take time off, despite limited travel during the pandemic.”
  • “The firm has a serious formal training program that it implements globally. The program is mostly focused on soft skills and business development. What I like about that training is that it is geared towards your level of seniority at the firm.”
  • “A&O provides near-continuous opportunities to receive skills training.  Recent training topics have included technology, research, marketing, time management, and networking. In addition, partners make it a priority to give associates facetime with clients.  Moreover, as many of the practice groups are leanly staffed, junior and mid-level associates often get experiences that take lawyers at other firms much longer to experience.”
  • “My strongest mentoring relationships are the ones that have developed informally. But the firm does also provide each associate with a formal partner and associate mentor as well, who will speak with those you work with to gather as much feedback as possible during quarterly ‘sit-downs.’"
  • “There is a formal ‘Compass’ mentoring program which has proved very helpful to me. I've also acquired a number of mentors informally during my time.”
  • “Yes, partnership is realistic for those who would like to make partner, and the firm is supportive of non-traditional roles as well. Partners are helpful and open to those who want to transition in-house or to other roles. Partnership process can be more transparent.”
  • “Partners routinely discuss associates' career goals and provide meaningful guidance for those interested in becoming a partner. The firm also provides training courses that are specifically geared toward mid-level and senior associates to provide them with enhanced leadership skills. Partners are also eager to discuss other opportunities, such as serving in government or transitioning to in-house legal positions. Many associates have left to go work in government and then return to the firm following the service.”
  • “There is a strong focus on growing the U.S. practice and positioning U.S.-law capability, both in the U.S. and abroad, as a central driver of profitability going forward. This creates a lot of opportunity for people coming up the ranks, but fair to say that it also requires attorneys to be a bit more entrepreneurial than at other more established U.S.-based firms.”
  • “We have a lot of attorneys who are counsel or senior counsel, and that position is taken seriously. Some counsel later make the move to partner.”
  • “The firm counts up to 150 hours of pro bono work per year towards billable targets, which is fantastic. It also is very open to associates championing pro bono projects of any nature that interest them, so there is a ton of opportunity in this space. Personally, I have worked on immigration, family law, and numerous environmental pro bono projects.”
  • “A&O has a dedicated pro bono committee and actively encourages attorneys to participate in pro bono projects.”
  • “Police Reform, immigration, human rights—really incredible opportunities!”
  • “Though there is more work to be done, D&I is central to A&O's identity and we have made progress in this respect, including becoming Mansfield Certified Plus in 2020, creating diversity task forces, and sponsoring diversity initiatives. D&I is constantly on top of the list of to-dos for senior management.”
  • “The firm has created several active affinity groups, including A&Out, Asian Affinity Network, Black & Latinx Affinity Group, Diversity Committee, Families @ A&O, and a Women’s Committee.”
  • “Efforts to foster diversity with respect to race and ethnicity have not been as effective as those with respect to women and LGBTQ+ individuals, but are becoming more effective.”
  • “Strong sense that the firm takes DEI very seriously. There is a strong focus on this coming out of the events of the summer 2020, and I have confidence that it will remain a strategic priority for the firm going forward. A ton of work remains to be done, particularly on retention, but it is heartening that this topic does appear to be truly front of mind at the firm.”

Why Work Here


 

Allen & Overy has it both ways

Allen & Overy associates frequently evoke not one but two elements of their firm's culture. "Reserved," says a member of the U.S. Law Group in London, "but friendly." Another U.S.-trained attorney in London calls the firm "relaxed and professional." In New York, an associate picks up the thread, labeling the firm "friendly and professional." Still another New Yorker describes the firm as follows: "Friendly, down-to-earth, welcoming, but hard-working and high-achieving."

Diversity at Allen & Overy LLP

"Diversity is one of A&O's strategic business priorities. Our aim is to build an environment where everyone feels supported and comfortable in being open, and where the differences between our people create opportunities not barriers. "A lack of diversity stifles innovation and puts a block on creativity. No business that wants to build a sustainable future can afford to constrain itself in that way. We can't be advanced if we are not diverse. " Wim Dejonghe, Global Senior Partner "We must be intrinsically motivated..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “International experience or outlook is a big plus.”
  • “I believe grades, journal experience, diversity, and personality are the most important factors my firm looks for when hiring.”
  • “The firm has a competitive hiring process that emphasizes candidates with a full package. In addition to traditional indicators like grades and experience, the candidate's ability to fit into the firm culture also plays a large role.”
  • “There is training and guidelines for interviewing. The firm uses situational questions in interviewing, which is intended to reduce the impact of personal biases when interviewing—interviewers are less likely to base their assessments on chatting and clicking based on common backgrounds, interests etc. I'd say our firm hires a lot from the lower T14 and also see a lot of Brooklyn Law and Emory.”
  • “The firm wants to understand why an associate is specifically interested in A&O, and typically that involves demonstrating an interest in cross-border work. The firm also typically presents summer associate candidates with two hypotheticals in order to assess their grit, emotional IQ, and other qualities that matter to us.”
  • “The interview consisted of a combination of traditional interview questions (who are you; why law school) and situationally specific behavioral questions (if this situation presented itself, how would you respond).”

Practice Area Q&A’s


Ally de Padua

Associate

Allen & Overy LLP
Isabelle Whitehead

Associate

Allen & Overy LLP
Billy Jacobson

Partner

Allen & Overy LLP
Christine Steenman

Senior Counsel

Allen & Overy LLP
Jean Lee & Sami Mir

Partner & Partner

Allen & Overy LLP

Perks & Benefits