Associate – Banking - Restructuring
What do you think sets A&O apart?
Very few firms share A&O’s global capability to deliver the largest and most complex cross-border transactions and our culture is integral to this. In my experience, people across our international network are friendly and open and our approach to delivering for clients is built on this spirit of global collaboration.
Tell us about your journey – what initially drew you to A&O?
When I finished school, I had a year out and needed to fund a few months of travelling before I started my English degree. I ended up taking a job as a records assistant at an IP firm in South London. It was the kind of place, much like A&O, where if you prove yourself willing and able you are given as much responsibility as you feel comfortable with. I began to get more involved on cases and left the firm convinced that I wanted to pursue a career in commercial law. A&O stood out to me for its market-leading finance practice and reputation for excellent training; exposure to the great culture on a vacation scheme sealed the deal.
How long have you been at A&O? How do you feel it has changed over the years?
Coming up to four and a half years. With the current management team, there is a renewed focus on making full use of technology and remote working, the importance of diversity and, crucially, how these two things work together to facilitate the best possible client service. There is still more for us to do, but the Covid-19 situation has certainly tested our capabilities in these areas and presented opportunities to build on them going forward.
How do you balance your career at A&O and your home life?
I try to enjoy my down-time when it comes and switch off when the day’s work is done. Communication is also really important – everyone has competing demands on their time and these can be managed a lot more effectively if the wider team is aware of them.
If you could switch roles with anyone else in A&O, whose job would you want and why?
Andrew Trahair, a restructuring partner I worked a lot with as a junior who recently became head of Advanced Delivery & Solutions. This is the team that brings together all of our advanced resourcing and technology capabilities and integrates them within the firm’s traditional practice. As our approach to delivering legal services continues to evolve, I think this will play a really important role in shaping the future of the firm.
What advice would you give for people considering joining A&O?
As far as possible in current circumstances, meet or speak to as many people at the firm as possible. I think the culture of A&O is its best selling point, but it is important to establish that it is the right fit for you.
What do you think you have gained both personally and professionally from your time at A&O?
I have been lucky enough to work with a number of market-leading lawyers from the outset of my career and this has had a huge formative effect on me professionally. Everyone has their own style in delivering legal advice and I have sought to absorb this breadth of expertise in forming my own approach. Personally, I have gained some great friends and mentors; most of these relationships are formed organically on a particular transaction but last far beyond the closing.
What extracurricular activities have you become involved in since joining A&O (Sports teams / music / pro bono etc)?
A&O has a fantastic pro bono programme and everyone is encouraged to get involved. I supervise trainees advising at Battersea Legal Advice Clinic and work with Coram Children’s Legal Centre in helping children who are entitled to British citizenship to obtain it. It can, of course, be challenging to balance this with the everyday demands of the job, but there is no better feeling than calling a child’s parents after a successful citizenship application.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Being continually challenged and working with great people.
What was your first ever job?
Customer service in my local branch of Halfords. Like many others, I’ve got back on the bike during lockdown so the skills I learnt there are serving me well.