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Allen & Overy launches new virtual work experience programme

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A&O has launched a new global, virtual work experience programme to enable a wider variety of people to gain insight into life in the legal industry.

Two free, virtual legal work experience programmes covering Employment Law and M&A and Technology Law are on offer. Both programmes are self-paced, designed by our lawyers and can be accessed from anywhere in the world, providing participants with a variety of real life tasks to help them understand the day-to-day work of a commercial lawyer, the skills needed and most importantly the opportunity to practise these.

Developed in conjunction with Forage, a career education platform for high school and college students, each programme incorporates skills and experiences to better prepare people for the world of work. Participants get the opportunity to see what legal reasoning looks like on a practical level, practise interpreting contracts, working with clients, demonstrating lateral thinking and applying legal principles.

“Our technology and M&A virtual work experience is based on real-life scenarios,” explains Will Samengo-Turner, a partner in A&O’s Corporate practice who features in the programme, guiding people through the course. “We’ve carefully designed the tasks to give people an insight into the life cycle of an exciting technology and M&A transaction with a fictitious client. Programmes like these are designed to break down barriers and prepare young people for a career within the legal sector.”

“We’ve seen through our work with young people that they can often unselect themselves from in-person opportunities that we know they can do because they may lack the confidence or self-belief,” explains Emma Turnbull, Community Investment Manager. “But we would love to work with them. We know that diversity of thought is important to our future as a firm, so if these virtual programmes are a way for a young person to take a first step to engage with us that doesn’t make them feel judged or excluded, then that’s a great step forward.”

As well as improving accessibility, the outcomes could be even more impactful, allowing potential applicants the opportunity to experience their chosen career path first-hand to establish if it’s right for them.

Focusing on social mobility is an integral part of our commitment to support an inclusive culture that celebrates and embraces difference. The virtual work experience programme forms part of a wider range of initiatives including Smart Start and our Solicitor Apprenticeship programme, which are aimed at widening access to the legal industry.

While the initial modules are aimed at undergraduates and secondary school students, they are open to anyone, and are available all over the world. The modules are currently only available in English, and are based on UK Law.