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A&O Belfast is a beacon of opportunity for young graduates and qualified junior lawyers in what is arguably an inward looking and saturated local market….

I joined A&O in September 2014 having spent five years practising as a criminal defence barrister at the Bar of Northern Ireland. At the time, I did not strictly match the profile of a typical applicant and, while the decision to leave the Bar was a difficult one, I am very pleased to say it was the correct decision.

One of the first things that struck me was how vast the A&O network is; it is clear that A&O truly has a global presence. I have worked on matters involving multiple jurisdictions, with one matter demanding local law advice from 74 jurisdictions.

I am a part of our Advanced Delivery Legal ICM team, which works directly with numerous offices within the A&O network on a range of tasks and projects. I was seconded for three months to the London office to work with the Derivatives and Structured Finance team and, as a result, my knowledge of ICM has grown, enabling me to assist with more complex and challenging matters. I plan to attend A&O’s ICM University this autumn to develop my knowledge further and make new contacts from the global network.

A&O is excellent at encouraging personal development. During 2017 I completed a conversion course at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s University Belfast to convert my barrister qualification to a solicitor qualification. The ADL team was very supportive by allowing me to work flexibly and granting a number of study days to prepare for examinations.

The way in which lawyers work is changing and moving further and further away from the traditional model. I think A&O Belfast is ahead of the curve in what it can offer the wider A&O network and clients. Any graduate or junior lawyer would be wise to consider developing their legal career with the Advanced Delivery Legal team.