2022 Vault Rankings
- Firm Culture#10
At a Glance
“It’s truly an international network.”
“The quality and importance of the work.”
“Law firm hours are unpredictable.”
“We don't talk much about career paths within the firm.”
“The firm's IT infrastructure could still use improvements.”
About Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy stands as not only one of the U.K.’s most prestigious law firms—a pillar of the vaunted Magic Circle—but one of the largest firms in the world in terms of revenue. From three U.S. locations in Los Angeles; New York; and Washington, DC—and 155 U.S.-based attorneys—the firm continues to make its imprint on the American map.
Founders George Allen and Thomas Overy left a firm called Roney & Co. to open shop in London in 1930. It was George Allen’s representation of King Edward VIII during his 1936 abdication to marry American Wallis Simpson that really made the firm’s name (at the time, no scandal was bigger). In the decades that followed, A&O became one of London’s most prominent legal shops.
Today, A&O has offices and partners in more than 30 countries, and it has a network of associate firms that enable it to do business in 100 more nations. With around 550 partners and more than 2,000 lawyers, A&O is one of the largest law firms in the world. While the firm has a strong U.S.-based practice, the group border hops: A&O staffs U.S.-qualified attorneys in the U.S., the U.K., continental Europe, and Asia—the better to serve multinational clients.
As one would expect from a megafirm, A&O counsels in a wide variety of areas, from asset management and litigation to corporate and M&A to financial services regulation and regulatory compliance to securitization and tax—and everything in between. Given its international reach, it is no surprise that A&O is skilled in cross-border disputes—the firm is a regular among the top 20 in Vault’s International Practice Area ranking. The firm’s reach is particularly useful for its litigation practice, which counsels global clients in international arbitration, finance litigation, regulatory investigations—and much more.
Of course, you can’t talk about A&O without mention of its booming transactional practice. The firm has more than 1,000 lawyers specializing in banking and finance around the globe, making it one of the largest Banking and Finance departments of any law firm. The firm reaches across practice areas—including litigation, regulatory, and restructuring—to deliver innovative financial counsel. It’s no wonder the firm is among the top 25 in Vault’s Banking & Finance ranking.
On the M&A front, the firm advised on more than 240 global M&A deals in 2020 alone. Among its recent matters are advising 21st Century Fox in its acquisition by the Walt Disney Company, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank in its three-way merger Union National Bank PJSC and Al Hilal Bank, and Tesco on the sale of the entire interest in its businesses in Thailand and Malaysia.
The Right Direction
Allen & Overy has ditched annual performance reviews and replaced them with Compass, an innovative approach to performance and development that incorporates ongoing feedback rather than one yearly assessment. Associates receive real-time feedback via career conversations with partners. And the firm hosts a Compass app that allows attorneys to give and receive feedback at any time. Feedback isn’t limited to associates, however. The firm offers a reverse mentoring program through which associates act as mentors to A&O’s Global Board members and senior leadership.
During COVID-19 the firm shifted all law school recruitment efforts to be held virtually. This includes hosting virtual outreach/networking events, attending the virtual on-campus interview programs, conducting virtual callback interviews, running a virtual summer associate program, etc. The callback interview process is very much the same in that each candidate meets with three different panels with two attorneys on each panel (six total interviewers). Our 2020 and 2021 summer associate programs have both been virtual and aimed to maximize the summer associates’ exposure to the firm’s culture and work. The programming includes informational sessions with each practice group, skills-based trainings, and virtual social events. The firm also has a dedicated work allocation committee committed to ensuring the summer associates get ample exposure to the firm’s clients and work.
News & Awards
- Allen & Overy advised Bank of China in connection with a $465.85 million loan to an international joint venture to purchase The Plaza Hotel and The Dream Downtown Hotel, two luxury hotels in New York City.
- Allen & Overy advised Liberty Global on its GBP31 billion deal with Telefónica to merge Virgin Media and O2 to create a business serving 46 million video, broadband, and mobile subscribers.
- Allen & Overy advised the mandated lead arrangers on the $4 billion debt financing for Shuanghai’s $7.1 billion acquisition of Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer. This acquisition is the largest ever Chinese takeover of a U.S. company at the date of announcement.
- Allen & Overy advised the senior lenders (including IFC, EBRD, JBIC, UKEF, Bpifrance, EXIAR, Finnvera, Mizuho, HSBC, and ING) on the $5 billion project financing of a constellation of 882 satellites and associated infrastructure and ground facilities for OneWeb.
- Top 50 Employers for Women, 2021—The Times
- Mansfield Rule Certified Plus, 2020—Diversity Lab
- Top Firm for Gender Equity and Family Friendliness: Hiring Practices and LGBTQ+ Representation, 2020—Yale Law Women (YLW)
- Seventeen U.S. practice areas and 36 U.S.-based partners recognized, 2021—Chambers USA
- Loan of the Year: LatAm; Infrastructure Financing of the Year: Brazil; and Infrastructure Financing of the Year: Mexico; 2020—LatinFinance Project & Infrastructure Finance Awards
Why Work Here
Allen & Overy has it both ways
Allen & Overy associates frequently evoke not one but two elements of their firm's culture. "Reserved," says a member of the U.S. Law Group in London, "but friendly." Another U.S.-trained attorney in London calls the firm "relaxed and professional." In New York, an associate picks up the thread, labeling the firm "friendly and professional." Still another New Yorker describes the firm as follows: "Friendly, down-to-earth, welcoming, but hard-working and high-achieving."
1221 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Phone: (212) 610-6300
Senior Partner, U.S. and Latin America: Tim House
Managing Partners: Dave Lewis (NY); Jean Lee (DC)
Hiring Partners: Brad Pensyl and Sami Mir
Total No. Attorneys (2021):
2.5K - 3K
No. of Partners Named 2021:
1st year: $205,000
2nd year: $215,000
3rd year: $240,000
4th year: $275,000
5th year: $305,000
6th year: $330,000
7th year: $350,000
8th year: $365,000
Summer Associate: ~$3,942/week
Mary Alex Hudson
Manager, Recruitment and Professional Development
General Recruiting Email: LegalCareers@allenovery.com
No. of U.S. Offices: 3
No. of International Offices: 40
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Washington, DC I Abu Dhabi
Ho Chi Minh City
Anti-Bribery and Corruption
Banking and Finance
Commodities Regulation and Enforcement
Corporate and M&A
Derivatives and Structured Finance
Employment and Benefits
Financial Services Regulation and Investigations
Leveraged and Acquisition Finance
Energy and Infrastructure
Restructuring and Insolvency
National Security and International Trade
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.