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Jessica Teng

After graduating from the National University of Singapore, I chose to take up an England and Wales qualification with A&O because of the two-year training programme. The rotation across four areas (in my case, international capital markets, corporate, arbitration and a London seat) provides excellent exposure to both transactional and contentious work. Fresh out of law school, I wasn’t entirely sure what type of work I would be most suited to, and A&O’s training programme allows me to take a deep dive into several practice areas before deciding on my eventual placement.

Trainees at A&O’s Singapore office are entrusted with a lot of responsibility. Within days of joining the International Capital Markets practice, I was speaking with clients, taking a first cut at drafting and reviewing documents, helping drive key work streams, and assisting with virtual signings and closings. Perhaps the most interesting part of the work was having the opportunity to experience a transaction from two perspectives – as counsel for the banks underwriting a bond transaction, and as counsel for the trustee that represents bondholder interests. As trustee counsel, I assisted with the negotiation of key documents and provided advice on whether certain terms were aligned with market standards.

Given the cross-border nature of A&O deals, trainees have the chance to work with clients and counterparties from other jurisdictions. I’ve been staffed on deals with A&O lawyers in the Hong Kong, London and Jakarta offices. The cross-border nature of the work adds a layer of legal and administrative complexity to trainee tasks, such as coordinating local counsel in various jurisdictions and putting together country-specific regulatory and commercial advice. 

Work aside, one of my favourite things about A&O is the people. Associates and partners alike are generous with their time and guidance. As a firm, A&O also prioritises mental health and diversity and inclusion initiatives – these are issues that I hold dear, and I am proud to work in a firm that constantly strives to support and care for its people. 

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