Summer Internship, Future Trainee
I applied for a Summer Internship in Allen & Overy’s Singapore office to acquire practical insight into the firm and its work within Southeast Asia. Having met trainees and associates from the London office at a social event in my first year of university, I was keen to find out if the firm’s culture and competences transferred across borders.
I was seated across two practice areas: Banking and International Capital Markets. My supervisors and teams were enthusiastic to expose me to tasks which were representative of the trainee experience, and guided me through the background transactions to give me a better sense of where and how my contributions would fit into the final product. I was expecting a steep learning curve, and there were some daunting responsibilities which were delegated. But everyone was careful to explain new concepts well enough that I could follow their existing workflow and step up to my task, making sure to follow up to ensure that I was on track, and provide constructive feedback at the end. The highlight was assisting on a prospectus submission with an extremely tight deadline by helping complete and keep updated compliance checklists, and being able to see off the prospectus submission, in bound hardcopy, on the final day of our internship.
The internship was also structured to include various practice area talks which (given the small size of our group) were informal and helped to address our questions, not only those about the type of work, but also about the firm's clients (for example, A&O’s banking practice tends to be lender-leaning), responsibilities across lawyers of different seniorities, and market trends, all of which gave us a broader perspective of the firm’s position within the Singapore market and the Southeast Asian region. Of particular fascination to us was a talk on Islamic finance, which gave us a glimpse into the complex legal arrangements that underpin sukuk issuances and clearly demonstrated the firm’s dominant reputation in this field. Being able to ask probing questions and receive illuminating answers, unbound by stifling formality, was extremely helpful.
Throughout the internship, I felt like I was an integrated member of the team, working towards the same goals as everyone else. It was refreshing to be able to get to know other members of the team over social events and other informal lunches and coffees – it made me realise that they took their work seriously, but not themselves. Despite the relatively short length of my experience there, I was certain that Allen & Overy was the right place for me to take the next step in my career.
I am immensely grateful to the firm for giving me this opportunity to be a part of the Singapore office for three weeks, and for then placing their faith in me that I would be able to be a part of them for much longer!