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Who we support

Our pro bono and community projects are for charities and social enterprises. We also support certain individuals through established programmes with our partner organisations.

We provide:

Please take a moment to read our privacy policy.


Our pro bono work

We offer pro bono legal advice to both local and international non-profit organisations and social enterprises.

This includes:

  • representing international NGO clients in legal challenges
  • using our expertise to conduct legal research with clients’ policy and advocacy teams
  • responding to pressing areas of need 

We also help people who face barriers in accessing justice through free legal advice projects. These are delivered in partnership with local organisations.

If you’re part of a charitable organisation or social enterprise and looking for free legal advice, send an email to our pro bono team. We are unfortunately unable to respond to all queries received directly from individuals.    


Sign up for work experience

Our work experience programme, Smart Start, is for Year 12 students who are interested in law and business.

Students can take part by attending:

  • Smart Start Week at our London office, or
  • Smart Applications programme online

To join one of these programmes, students must first register for a Smart Choices information session.

Before you register for an information session

Our 2022 work experience programme for Year 12 students is now full.

To register your interest in our 2023 work experience programme you can email our Smart Start team.


Smart Start Week

Smart Applications

Where is it?

Allen & Overy London


When is it?

Dates for 2023 are to be confirmed

Dates for 2023 are to be confirmed

Is there a bursary available for my university studies?

Yes, students can apply for a £15,000 bursary if they take part in Smart Start Week and Smarter Futures Mentoring


What will I get from the programme?

  • Develop your knowledge of the firm's international profile and find out about the responsibilities of an A&O staff member
  • Familiarise yourself with a professional environment and develop essential skills for success
  • Map your own future career journey and understand the elements of an outstanding job application
  • Be set an overall challenge for the week and work through tasks based on real business scenarios from A&O
  • How to find and apply for solicitor apprenticeships
  • Planning and developing a personal statement
  • Interactive sessions on common admission tests
  • Routes into the legal profession and careers at A&O


We have two sets of criteria for the programme.

Applicants must:

  • have always attended a state-funded or non-fee paying school

  • come from a household where no parent or guardian has a qualification from a UK university
  • be a UK national or EU national with settled status in the UK by the time they apply for university

Applicants must also meet one of the following additional criteria.

They must:

  • receive, or have previously received free school meals, Education Maintenance Allowance or a 16 to 19 Bursary Fund
  • have parent(s)/guardian(s) who receive income support or housing benefits
  • be or have been in local authority care (for at least three months)
  • be or have been a full-time or part-time young carer
  • come to the UK as a refugee or asylum seeker
  • be attending a school or college with:
    • below average A-Level or Scottish Highers points score, and/or
    • a low rate of progression to higher education


Get support to return to work

We run a yearly employability programme called ReStart for people who are 50 and over who have been unemployed for six months to one year.

Our ReStart programme is a series of workshops which take place online and at our office in London. The programme runs for 10 to 12 weeks.

Participants in the programme will:

  • be mentored by A&O volunteers
  • receive independent advice and guidance
  • get one-to-one coaching from the Executive Coaching Consultancy
  • get help to rebuild their confidence
  • build a positive outlook
  • learn from shared experiences with other participants

We cannot guarantee that participants will find work either at A&O or elsewhere following the programme.


People from any background or profession can apply.

They must be 50 years of age or older and have been out of work for at least six months.

How to apply

Applications for ReStart 2022 are now closed.


What we fund

The A&O Foundation funds the work of charities, social enterprises and community interest companies covering:

  • access to justice
  • education
  • employment 

Although we support disaster relief efforts, there is no open application process for disaster relief grants.

We do not give funding directly to individuals.

Our grants to charities

Charities can apply for one of three grants.


Access to justice grant

Education and employment grant

Global Grants Programme

Where projects should be based

England, Scotland and Wales

London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney

An area of considerable need, for example a country described as ‘developing’ in UNDP’s Multidimensional Poverty Index


Your work or projects must promote access to justice in the UK

Your work or projects must focus on issues of education, employment and training

Your work or project must focus on one of:

  • education
  • employment
  • access to justice


£5,000 - £10,000

Up to £50,000 per year (for up to 3 years) + 100 volunteering hours from Allen & Overy staff

Organisations may ring-fence 20% of the grant for core funding

Closing date

25 January 2023

Applications for the Global Grants Programme are now closed

When will the grant be awarded?

TBC for 2023

Spring 2023

Applying for the Access to justice grant or Education and employment grants 

Request an application form by emailing

Applying for the Global Grants Programme

We are not accepting applications for the Global Grants Programme. If you would like to join our mailing list to hear when the process opens please contact the team

When to apply for more funding

Charities can apply for more funding by following the same application process as before, but the timing of the new application depends on the duration of the funding already received.

Reapplying for the Access to justice grant or Education and employment grants

Charities that have received one year of funding can apply for the programme immediately after their funding period ends.

Charities that have received a two consecutive years of funding must wait a year after the last grant period before applying again.

Global Charity Partnership

Our Global Charity Partnership brings together the whole firm to support one charity for two years.

We work closely with staff from the charity to develop opportunities for our people to get involved with the charity’s work. We offer fundraising, in-kind and pro bono support through the partnerships.

Our current partnership with Street Child runs until 31 July 2023.

We are not accepting applications for our next Global Charity Partnership at the moment. If you would like to join our mailing list to hear when the process opens please contact the team.