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Charlotte McGuiness

Senior Legal Professional

When I finished my law degree in 2017, I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do, so it was great to join a big-name firm like Allen & Overy and gain experience on a wide range of matters.

Since joining, I’ve been on secondment to the banking team for general corporate lending and real estate finance and the corporate practice in London where I worked in the energy, infrastructure and technology group. My secondment to the corporate team in London was originally meant to be six months but it ended up lasting for over a year. I got to work on a range of interesting deals such as a really big infrastructure project and a massive group reorganisation. Another memorable matter was working with a fintech client and going to their offices; that was really different to a traditional bank, and I found the work to be a lot more hands-on.

Since returning, I’ve decided not to specialise in either banking or corporate law at this stage and fortunately you get the flexibility to do that, so I’m currently doing a mixture of both. This means that I’m able to get involved in a wide variety of work, including mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, restructuring and other financing matters. I’m happy to defer the decision on where to specialise until I’m qualified – there’s been no pressure to choose.

In terms of career development, we get invited to attend all the London-based A&O training programmes. For example, I’ve attended the A&O Corporate University, which is the training programme for junior corporate associates, and have also attended A&O Banking University which is the equivalent training programme for junior banking associates. I’m also currently studying for the legal practice course which A&O has sponsored and will begin the A&O Belfast Training Contract in September 2022. 

Overall, I think that there is definitely more flexibility to develop your career in your preferred direction in Advanced Delivery. There is also a really good work life balance while working on really high-profile matters at the same time.

The culture is really friendly and I find that everyone takes an interest in each other; people often check in to see how you’re doing and that you’re happy with the work you have on but equally that you don’t have too much on your plate. For me, the differentiating factor is how appreciative and approachable people at A&O are – that’s the thing that keeps me here above all else.