Interview experiences for vacation schemes and training contracts. Law firms are sorted alphabetically.

Allen & Overy Interview

When was your Allen & Overy interview? 

November 2017

What was it for? 

Vacation Scheme

Please describe the interview process at Allen & Overy.

I was greeted by very nice grad rec people, then taken to a little room with other applicants, with other rooms coming off it. We were made to feel welcome and offered snacks. The day was explained to us clearly. We each had a room allocated to us that we would sit in for the interviews, and it felt nicer compared with other experiences where you enter a room that the interviewers are already inside. I had half an hour to look over a case study about a potential merger, with several documents (about 7 or 8) related to the transaction. Once that was over, an interviewer came in to discuss what I had read and act as the ‘client’. it started with a quick pitch that I had to make, about whether I would recommend the merger, an outline of the key issues etc. But it was fairly informal. After the pitch, the interviewer discussed what I had said, and brought up some issues that I hadn’t covered, either because I didn’t have time or because I had forgotten them the first time.

After this hour, another interviewer came into the room for the usual kind of interview, covering motivation, competencies, some commercial awareness etc. The questions were all pretty standard really, and the interviewer was very open about the fact that he has to check certain things off, and shows appropriate levels of recognition that it wasn’t an ideal system. Some questions included things like ‘how will the role of a lawyer change in the next ten years’, we discussed emerging markets geographically, I of course had prepared a few commercial awareness points to discuss.

After the interviews were finished, a trainee came to take each of us individually for a tour of the offices and then a chat in the office cafe about whatever we wanted to discuss, going through questions I had. The trainee was of course very friendly, just trying to help where they could, and by this point I was very relaxed, having finished my interviews.

What advice would you give to future applicants for the Allen & Overy interview?

Make sure you’re familiar with company balance sheets, working out profit, understanding sales data and trends. Think about mergers and what kinds of issues there will be – think about all of the different departments that will be involved in the transaction, and the roles of lawyers in each. Think about how you would take data and turn it into advice for a client, ie the best strategy for the business.

Prepare commercial topics to discuss, read financial and business news, be prepared to discuss your competencies, like times you have failed and how to come back from that.

When was your Allen & Overy interview?
Summer 2015

What was it for?
Training Contract

Please describe the interview process at Allen & Overy.
Case study: From what I can remember, it is very commercial – it’s more about what’s important to a business and how lawyers can help. I think it would be helpful to know things like how to calculate market cap, general contractual terms e.g. confidentiality clauses, employment, litigation etc.

What advice would you give to future applicants for the Allen & Overy interview?

There’s quite a lot to get through in a short time for the prep so probably make sure to read through the whole thing at least once and don’t panic if you don’t know the answer – they just want to know how you think.

Whenever people told me that all case studies are common sense and all I should do is use that common sense, it felt too abstract a piece of advice. Until the Allen & Overy case study, which required knowledge (so thank god it wasn’t my first AC!), but which really also needed you to be rational. I would say that what helped lots was: investopedia (for terminology + any maths I needed to know how to do), the FT (to build up a “database” of what companies focus on when pursuing a deal/fending off a bid/facing antitrust issues) and consulting interviews case study prep. With the latter, you do have to be careful to not only prep for what a consulting interview would be like – but it was the only way I could think of to practice forming a proposal. Nevertheless, I think I made the mistake of trying to have thought of allllll the possible issues that could come up in a deal or whatever case study and I think that made a bit too rigid, especially at Allen &Overy. It is also worth noting that you never know what the case study will be, which I know you know but, again, I think that for many science grads who have spent a long time in academia: you really try to predict what it will be because this part of an AC is so much out of your comfort zone.

When was your Allen & Overy interview? 

February 2018

What was it for? 

Training contract

Please describe the interview process at Allen & Overy.

The assessment centre is split into two interviews – the first is a case study, then a competency interview. Before the case study, you’re given half an hour to read through a huge number of documents, and to prepare answers to a number of questions. You then present your findings to the partner for the first 15 minutes of the interview, and then they’ll probe and ask further questions.

The second interview felt very structured – it was clear there was a list of questions prepared, and it was very much so back and forth. The second interview was pretty standard and easy to prepare for, but the first was a lot more challenging because it’s quite unusual and extremely (extremely!) time pressured.

What advice would you give to future applicants for the Allen & Overy interview?

For the case study, you don’t have time to read anything properly, only to skim read. Try to prepare before hand by reading a number of articles in a set amount of time and summarising what they said after skim reading them. I think this would help prepare for you thinking clearly and organising your thoughts under pressure.

For the competency interview, prepare model answers and practice them with friends or family, or to yourself in front of the mirror so that you know what you’d say. But definitely don’t memorise them – it’s a structured interview but you want to make your delivery as natural and conversational as possible. Also, prepare questions to ask at the end of both because my interviews had quite a lot of time at the end for both.

Allen & Overy (vacation scheme interview)

I believe the case study was rather chunky. I think it was designed so that there was no possible way you could get through all the documents in time. There were various issues – IP, client contracts, governing law issues, an ongoing dispute I believe. I think where I fell down was that I ha a banking partner interviewing me who obviously wanted to focus on a loan agreement that was part of this document pack. I believe he wanted me to talk about the different securities they had or would take and the possible issues that could arise as part of it and link this back to the facts we had been told. The loan agreement was quite substantial but if I were to recommend a document to spend an extra few minutes on, it would be that. Apart from that it was all rather straight forward.