At Allen & Overy we recognise that you will be at different stages of your career journey. Some of you will be sure that being a commercial lawyer is the right path for you, and others will be exploring that career along with a number of other options. As a result, we have created various different options when applying to our firm, to allow you to take the route that best suits you.

For those in your first year of undergraduate study, A&O First allows you to explore whether a career in commercial law at A&O is right for you. On completion of A&O First, you will be well-prepared to go on to apply for either a Vacation Scheme or Training Contract.

If you are in your penultimate or final year of study, or have already graduated and feel you need to experience our firm first-hand, then you can apply for a Vacation Scheme with us.

If you are already sure you want to work at A&O, then we encourage you to apply directly for a Training Contract. The choice is yours, as anyone in their penultimate year onwards can apply for either opportunity.

Our Vacation Schemes take place twice a year; in the Winter and Summer, and you can decide which time of the year suits you best regardless of what year of study you are in. If you do get accepted onto a Vacation Scheme then you will get the opportunity to be assessed for a Training Contract, as well as the opportunity to apply for a week’s work experience in one of our international offices in July.

Alternatively, if you feel that you would like to spend your university holidays doing something else or focusing on your studies, then you can apply directly for a Training Contract. Half of our trainees did not complete work experience with us before starting at the firm.

Please remember that we can only accept one application for either a Vacation Scheme or Training Contract each academic year. A&O supports the SRA’s Voluntary Code of Conduct for the recruitment of trainees. More information on this code and your obligations can be found here.

You can find more information about all of our opportunities on our graduate recruitment website.


A&O have launched a new podcast series to help provide advice on the different routes into law, work experience, the route to partnership and the application process. In a series of interviews and panel discussions, this podcast explores the many routes to becoming a lawyer as well as the options available during and after a career in law. Hosted by Bianca Vasilache, an A&O trainee, the guest speakers share their stories and practical advice for potential applicants and current practitioners alike. 

Follow Allen & Overy on Instagram for useful insights and opportunities to ask your questions to current trainees as part of a weekly Trainee Takeover.