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Alka Ladva
Alka Ladva

Alka Ladva

Senior Talent & Development Manager, HR

How long have you been at A&O and what were you doing prior to joining us? 

I have been with A&O for just over four years, prior to which I was Head of Talent at a private equity backed firm called CPA Global. 

What initially attracted you to A&O and what did you feel set us apart?

Having previously worked at two other law firms, A&O’s reputation always stood out as being second to none. The people really make the firm, and its supportive collaborative culture comes through in every touch point. Whilst it is really hard to describe, it is what makes A&O stand out. 

How do you feel A&O has changed since you joined (the impact of this one will likely depend on when you joined us!)

A&O has always felt like it was forward thinking which has set it in good stead when responding to change, whether it be in the legal sector or in a global context. Examples include our DE&I agenda and responding to the pandemic which has driven a lot of positive change across the firm.

What was your first ever job? Was working in the legal sector always your ultimate goal? 

My first “proper” job was as Training Manager for the Serious Fraud office. This was a multi-disciplined organisation and provided great exposure across broader professional services which paved the way for my move to the legal sector. After several years, I briefly left legal services but the draw of A&O was too strong for me not to return! 

We are proud at A&O to offer an environment where people can be themselves … What gives you a sense of “belonging” at A&O? 

As a full time working mum of south Asian heritage there have been times in my career where I have felt I have had to play down who I am to succeed. A&O encourages me to be myself and this empowerment creates a sense of belonging which is unique. Diversity is celebrated and this is incredibly important to me.

What’s the best thing about the team you work in?

I am immensely proud to work within the Talent Development team which is made up of really inspiring individuals. We work together to support our people and realise their potential. To be part of a team that adds such value is great.

What three things have enabled you to excel during your time at A&O?

Supportive leadership, an inspiring vision for the future, and the team around me have enabled me to excel at A&O. 

Which networks, extra-curricular activities, and/or pro bono and community investment initiatives have you become involved with since joining A&O (such as DE&I/sports teams/music etc.)? What have you valued most about these opportunities?

I have been actively involved in initiatives focused on promoting social mobility and supporting young aspiring lawyers which have both been incredibly rewarding. Creating an environment where students feel they could have a career in the future, removing barriers and inspiring young minds has been a highlight for me. However these are just a few examples of the range of activities and networks across the firm and there is something for everyone. 

If you could spend some time in any of A&O’s international offices, where would you most like to go and why?

I would love to spend some time in one of our new US West Coast offices. Our growth in the US is exciting and it would be really interesting to experience this on the ground.

If you could switch roles with anyone else at A&O, whose job would you want and why?

I have always thought that stepping into our associates’ shoes would be fascinating. Working with our clients on intellectually challenging matters that support our clients’ strategy would be a really interesting experience.

What advice would you give to anyone considering joining A&O?

If anyone is considering joining us, I would suggest they come and meet us. The people make A&O the great place it is to work and this comes through from the first conversation.