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Students and graduates

Seize the opportunity to build your future by doing empowering work on a global scale.

Join a first-class training programme, gain global experience, work on cutting-edge deals and learn from lawyers who are leaders in their field of practice.
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Are we right for you?

What to expect during our selection process.

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Summer Vacation Programme

Each year we offer students the opportunity to experience first-hand what it’s like to work for A&O on our Summer Vacation Programme. You will assist on real deals and get hands-on insight into the truly international nature of our work in the Middle East.

During your placement you will be paired with a "Trainee Buddy" who will answer your questions, offer advice and help you feel at home during your time with us.  You will be sat with a Senior Associate who will act as your trainer for the duration of the scheme. Informal get togethers with your trainer and department; coffees, lunches and dinners with your buddy and social events are just some of the opportunities you will have to get to know us during your placement.

Alongside your day-to-day work, you will be involved in a client pitch project designed to sharpen your team, research and presentation skills, and to expose you to our broad range of clients and practice areas. In addition, you will hear about recent deals and get a real insight into the role of a commercial lawyer.

If you secure a Summer Vacation Programme with us, you will be assessed for a Training Contract throughout the duration of the scheme.

Our two week Summer Vacation Programme is for penultimate or final year undergraduates from any degree discipline. An affiliation to the region is essential, and Arabic language skills are an advantage, but not mandatory.

Applications for our 2024 Summer Vacation Scheme will open in Autumn 2023 with interviews taking place in March 2024.

Apply now

England & Wales Training Contract - What will you do?

Becoming a Middle East trainee with Allen & Overy is just the beginning of what will be a stimulating and rewarding legal career in the region.

Our training programme is carefully designed and continually evolving to ensure we are providing you with the foundations you need to bring your best self, overcome any challenges and find your strengths.

Your training will be based on four six-month rotations (known as ‘seats’), through a number of departments or practice areas. Seats are available across our practice areas and will help you to discover the full range of work we do and the expertise we have in our teams. You will work for partners, counsel and associates who will provide you with support and guidance, and you will take an active and practical role in the office’s work, with plenty of individual responsibility along the way.

Our HR team will work with you to determine your seat choices. You will have the opportunity to express your preferences, so you can spend time in the areas that suit you best (subject to business need). Our core transactional areas of expertise are Banking, Corporate and International Capital Markets; as a trainee, you can expect to spend at least two seats of your Training Contract gaining experience in these areas. You will also explore the possibility of spending a seat on an international secondment, which will give you the chance to grow and strengthen your network.

You’ll also gain contentious experience, either by spending a seat in our Litigation department (including Litigation & Investigations and Arbitration) or, for those who do not sit in a Litigation seat, by completing a Litigation course. 

Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)

The route to qualification as a solicitor in England and Wales is changing. The SQE is a new compulsory assessment which was introduced from 1 September 2021 and ultimately replaces the previous route to qualification. Trainees joining Allen & Overy from September 2024 onwards will train via the SQE route. Please see below for further information about our SQE transition plans. Further information about the SQE is available on the SRA website.

Working Environment

Allen & Overy Abu Dhabi is located on the 5th floor of Al Mamoura Building B on Muroor Road. Conveniently removed from the immediate bustle of the city centre, yet still situated near the main commercial centre with easy access out towards the airport and towards Dubai. 

Allen & Overy Dubai is in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which is classed as the "financial hub" of Dubai. It is a busy area with many trendy cafes, restaurants, bars and gyms. It also boasts easy access to Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa.

Training and support

We want to provide everyone, from graduates and junior lawyers, through to Senior Associate level practitioners and partners, with constant learning opportunities. Qualifying as a lawyer is an important milestone, but your growth and development at A&O will continue far beyond that. A career with us provides a platform to open doors and brings opportunities you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

Training does not stop at qualification.  At key points during your associate career, you will become eligible to attend the different stages of our bespoke global associate development programme, where you will be joined by colleagues from around the world.  These sessions will provide you with the commercial and personal skills that you need to navigate through an ever-changing business landscape, while helping you build the skills you need for your career.  The Business School offers a variety of excellent courses relevant to your career stage, with an emphasis on practical skills and business insight to complement advanced legal knowledge. The school also offers a unique opportunity to interact with and learn from partners and gain valuable insights from the world of business. From cutting-edge content to world-class coaches, our partners work on the design of the courses and act as faculty members to share their experience and expertise.

Throughout your journey with us, we will equip you for today and tomorrow – providing you with opportunities to enhance your skills and build your confidence. At A&O, you'll get the challenge and support required for a successful career at the highest level.

Application process and deadlines

The application process is designed to give you a platform to show us what you’re capable of and to set you up for success at Allen & Overy.

1. Online Application

You will be required to submit an online application which details your work and education history.

Once you submit an online application for our Summer Vacation Programme you will be sent an email which will contain a link to complete an interactive assessment. The assessment will include verbal and numerical reasoning items and two short motivation questions to complete via video. The interactive assessment is untimed and should take around 45 minutes. The interactive assessment is designed to provide a realistic preview of what you may experience as a trainee at Allen & Overy as well as give us an insight into your motivations. 

2. Interviews

If your application is successful you will be invited to an Assessment Day comprising of two interviews. The first interview is based on a commercial case study, where you’ll have time to work through a brief and prepare a short presentation to deliver to your interviewer. This will be followed by a discussion on the key points from the case study. In the second interview, you will be asked a series of questions based on scenarios you may encounter as a trainee.

3. Offer

After your interviews, we will review your performance and aim to get back to you with a decision as quickly as possible.

4. Application Deadlines

  • 1 October – 31 December 2023: Online applications accepted.
  • February & March 2024: Assessment Day.
  • End of March 2024: Offers confirmed to successful candidates.
  • 20 May - 31 May: Summer Vacation Programme.

What we look for

At Allen & Overy Middle East we will look for you to demonstrate the following: 

  • A commitment to a career in international commercial law
  • Clear articulation of why you want to work at Allen & Overy
  • Commercial awareness of both the law and business
  • Team-working skills
  • Communication skills (both written and verbal)
  • Planning and organisation skills
  • Drive and motivation to succeed
  • Technology awareness
  • Affiliation to the Middle East region
  • Arabic language skills are preferable but not essential

We will look favourably on applications that show a high level of commitment to extra curricular activity or work experience as well as excellent academic performance.

Application FAQs

Can I apply to more than one A&O office for a Summer Vacation Programme or Training Contract?

Can I apply to more than one A&O office for a Summer Vacation Programme or Training Contract?

Providing you have an affiliation to the region, we welcome applications even if you have applied to another office.

Can I have feedback on my application?

Can I have feedback on my application?

Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications we receive we are unable to offer individual feedback on application forms. If you have been unsuccessful then try showing your form to a careers adviser, tutor or friend – a fresh pair of eyes may be able to pick up something you’ve missed.

If I am invited to interview, what is the process?

If I am invited to interview, what is the process?

You will be invited to complete our assessment day virtually, which will include a HR scenario based interview where we will assess your skills, knowledge and motivation for a legal career at Allen & Overy in the Middle East. You will be asked a series of questions based on scenarios, which you may encounter as a trainee.

You will also complete a case study assessment with one or two partners where you’ll have a short time to work through the case study materials and prepare a brief presentation, which will be followed by a discussion with your interviewer. This exercise is aimed at assessing your interest in business, your commercial awareness and ability to digest information and present your findings.

If I don’t do a vacation placement with you, can I still apply for a Training Contract?

If I don’t do a vacation placement with you, can I still apply for a Training Contract?

Unfortunately we only offer Training Contracts to candidates who have completed our Vacation Programme.

In what year can I do a Vacation Programme?

In what year can I do a Vacation Programme?

Our Vacation Programme are for those in their penultimate year of study, final year or those who have already graduated. First year students and students in their second year of a four year degree must wait until they are in their penultimate year.

How many people are in each Training Contract intake?

How many people are in each Training Contract intake?

We aim to recruit 2 or 3 trainees a year in our Middle East offices but this may vary from year to year.

When can I start my Training Contract?

When can I start my Training Contract?

Like many law firms, we generally recruit a few years in advance. However, when we can we will be flexible when it comes to your start date, so this can be discussed based on your earliest availability to start.

How will my seats be selected during my Training Contract?

How will my seats be selected during my Training Contract?

HR will provide information on each of our departments and meet with you one-on-one to discuss your preferences and create your seat plan. The departments you sit in must satisfy the requirements of the Solicitors Regulation Authority for you to qualify as an England & Wales solicitor and you must complete a seat in our Dubai, Abu Dhabi and London offices.

Can trainees do an international seat?

Can trainees do an international seat?

All Middle East trainees are required to complete a seat in our London office during their Training Contract and this is usually undertaken during your final 6 months.

Why have you chosen to develop a bespoke Legal Practice Course (LPC) for Allen & Overy?

Why have you chosen to develop a bespoke Legal Practice Course (LPC) for Allen & Overy?

It is vital that A&O’s lawyers give commercial, business-focussed advice as well as being experts in law and the new course will provide the foundations of legal practice through the LPC element, and the business element will develop your business awareness and equip you for a career in commercial law. On full completion of the course, you will receive a masters qualification: an MA (LPC with Business).

The LPC course itself will be bespoke course and is being developed by A&O fee earners and our Training team in conjunction with BPP. The course will feature materials based on real examples of the transactions we do and will ensure you are familiar with our precedents before you join us. The modules you will take focus on our core practice areas (Banking, Corporate and International Capital Markets) to ensure your time at Law School provides the best possible preparation for your Training Contract with us.

Do you choose my LPC electives?

Do you choose my LPC electives?

As the Allen & Overy LPC is tailored to the work we do, we have specified the electives that our trainees must take as these will provide the best foundation for your career with us. These electives are acquisition, debt finance, public companies and equity finance.

Do you provide financial assistance through law school?

Do you provide financial assistance through law school?

When you accept our offer of a Training Contract we will provide financial support for your law school studies. For all those on the A&O LPC, you will receive a maintenance grant of £10,000 and we will pay your course fees.

If you accept your Training Contract after commencing the LPC we will pro rata your maintenance award, but your course fees will be refunded in full. If you accept your Training Contract after commencing the two year LLB we will pro rata your maintenance award and refund up to £5,000 of your course fees.

What about the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme?

What about the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme?

If you have qualified as a lawyer outside of England and Wales and are looking to become a quasi-trainee with us, you may not need to do the LPC in order to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. You may be able to re-qualify under the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS). As a quasi-trainee, you would complete a period of training rather than a Training Contract. Your training period would be exactly the same as trainees who have completed the LPC.

Although the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) does not impose any formal experience requirements in order to re-qualify, we ask all QLTS Trainees to complete a minimum of 18 months’ training, as we believe this is the minimum length of time required to gain a sufficient overview of the firm and experience in a number of practice areas before qualifying.

We will pay for all necessary QLTS examinations and training. For further information about the QLTS process please visit the SRA website:

Our locations

  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Asia Pacific
  • Middle East
  • North America
  • Latin America

In addition to countries where we have offices, we also have a number of International Desks advising clients on large scale international transactions in Europe.

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