Graduate Recruitment Specialist – Human Resources
What do you think sets A&O apart?
A&O has a number of unique selling points but one which attracted me was A&O’s focus on building an innovative culture. It is great working for a firm that is a leader in the sector and embraces change. This strategy can be seen in A&O expanding to new offices across this globe, our new consultancy business and the way A&O has embraced technology.
I have been fortunate enough to work in Fuse – A&O’s technology incubator – on a couple of projects and it has been a great insight into the world of legal technology. From working with them it is clear to see how A&O is using technology as a competitive advantage and will be beneficial both internally and externally. Another exciting prospect for everyone at A&O is engaging with our global network and I hope to take advantage and go on an international secondment during my time at A&O.
Tell us about your A&O journey – what initially drew you to A&O?
Before this role I worked in agency recruitment and initially I knew little about the legal sector and the magic circle. I was given a number of sectors to work on but one I particularly enjoyed recruiting for was the legal sector. As such, when I started looking for a new opportunity the legal sector was high on my list.
Whilst doing my research A&O stood out to me due to their support for Diversity and Inclusion. In my opinion the way a firm tackles the issues of Diversity and Inclusion really demonstrates their culture and for me it is one of the main influencing factors when choosing a company to work for. In my interview I asked if there are opportunities to get involved in programmes outside of the day job and was told this was actively encouraged. I am happy to say during my time at A&O this is the case and I have already been involved in some amazing programmes. One diversity strand that I am particular interested is social mobility and during my time at A&O I have been able to support A&O’s award winning programme Smart Start, be a member of our social mobility action group, facilitate workshops with primary/secondary school children and assist in developing a new graduate diversity programme- A&O accelerate. Not only have I been able to develop myself through this work but I have been actively encouraged to use my passion to give back to the wider community which I find extremely rewarding.
How do you balance your career at A&O and your home life?
A&O is a high performance environment and it requires hard work. However, A&O also have a big focus on health and wellbeing. Outside of work I am very interested in sport and play football, badminton and tennis which, I have also been able to do onsite at A&O! We have a 24/7 Gym that has a sports hall allowing me to play both badminton and football. On top of that A&O has a range of clubs for a variety of sports which means I have the opportunity to build relationships with wider teams. The working hours can be flexible so if I need to leave early for a 6-a-side football match I can manage my hours to do this allowing me to continue my hobbies in a high performance environment.
If you could switch roles with anyone else in A&O, who’s job would you want and why?
I would swap roles with Nitish Upadhyaya who works in our Legal Technology team. I have worked with him on a couple of projects recently and he is so enthusiastic about his role! I have always enjoyed being creative when it comes to technology and having the opportunity to work with all areas of the business and take unique new ideas to full concepts which could be implemented internally and externally would be really exciting. Also the way the team works is truly innovative and often they use new ways of working such as design thinking. I try to implement design thinking methodologies in to my projects but being able to do this more frequently would be great.
What advice would you give for people considering joining A&O?
My biggest piece of advice would be to look at the strategy of the firm. A&O has a number of key strategic drivers and being able to talk about these in an interview can make you stand out. However, use the interview process as an opportunity to talk about areas you’re passionate about. I interview for our graduate programmes and those that stand out are clearly passionate about the areas they discuss - for example, if you are interested in technology research recent deals or advancements that we have implemented such as our work with FinTech Nivaura.
Name something that people may not know about A&O.
If you have watched The Kings Speech there is a scene regarding the abdication crisis and the lawyer who advised them. I was amazed to find out that George Allen, founder of Allen & Overy, was the main advisor on this crisis!
What do you think you have gained both personally and professionally from your time at A&O?
In my short time at A&O I have been able to build a fantastic network across the firm due to the open and friendly culture. On a professional level this allows me to be more efficient in my job and tackle problems from multiple angles utilising my network. On a personal level I have a number of more senior colleagues who I see as mentors and a set of colleagues that I socialise with outside of work.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I thoroughly enjoy working at A&O and knowing that part of the work I do can help those from less privileged backgrounds motivates me. Whether I am project leading on a diversity project or a facilitator on the day the positive feedback and journeys of these individuals gives me the drive to come to work each day.