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by Allen & Overy LLP | July 07, 2023


As a summer associate at Allen & Overy-U.S., you may be afforded the chance to circumnavigate the globe…professionally! Sitting in your inbox each morning might be an assignment from a U.S. Corporate Finance teammate in London, followed by a transaction update from a colleague in Singapore.

Over the next few hours, you might then join a call with a client in Sweden regarding economic sanctions; and then a debrief on that arbitration from a partner in Washington, D.C. Before leaving for an evening client event, you might send a markup to the International Capital Markets group in Brazil and then also say hello to someone visiting the New York office from Silicon Valley—around the world in eight hours, without the hassles of airport security.

The modern practice of law has become an increasingly and necessarily international undertaking. As the world continues to globalize, so too do its legal issues. “Cross-border” no longer serves as a distinguishing factor but rather as a descriptor of the most sophisticated legal work. For those on the leading edge of the legal profession, that introduces exciting new possibilities. A J.D. serves as a professional passport, granting access to issues involving businesses and jurisdictions rarely discussed during the three years of law school.

Whereas some firms have built their reputations from within the U.S., servicing mostly a regional or national clientele, others have capitalized on an international footprint established over decades. With its 40 offices around the world and presence in nearly 30 countries, Allen & Overy-U.S. is uniquely positioned to handle this type of work.

Yet the process of adopting the global mindset necessary for twenty-first-century legal practice requires more than placement at an organization with a global identity; certain steps as a summer associate can provide a strong foundation for a cross-border legal career.

Engage with Colleagues across the Network

On most teams at Allen & Overy, interactions with non-US colleagues abroad are a part of daily life. Any of the firm’s six US offices often host lawyers from across the global network—ranging from those in town for a weeklong stint to ex-pats who started their careers outside the U.S.

During your summer, you might share an office with an Australian colleague who previously spent years in Sydney and Bangkok. Down the hall might be a transfer from the Tokyo office, alongside a recent graduate from China. This proximity to people from a variety of backgrounds transforms US offices into a microcosm of the firm’s network.

Exposure to matters outside the U.S. facilitates a sense of solidarity. Because the firm has expanded its presence organically, deliberately, and, until now, mostly beyond U.S. borders, each office feels part of the global Allen & Overy community.

Join Projects Addressing International Issues

Many law school classes must limit their scope to the United States, with curricula centered on conflicts between people in the U.S., the regulatory decisions of U.S. agencies, or the operational considerations for U.S. entities. Such a proscribed view can mask the transnational nature of the modern legal business environment. At Allen & Overy, a summer associate experience can widen your frame of view. The assortment of legal issues on which you work, and the number of novel legal questions you encounter, will be exciting and may even exceed all expectations.

Connect with Clients Based Outside the United States

Allen & Overy’s global presence and emphasis on US expansion stems from the continued diversification of our client base. Indeed, the geography of the firm has changed in concert with the needs of clients. Not only does this better shield the firm from the fluctuations of a single legal market—more importantly, it also affords summer associates the chance to connect with a vast range of clients.

Accommodating people from three separate time zones means an occasional early-morning meeting, but this is how conversations about issues on the other side of the world begin. At first, discussing legal issues with international clients may leave one feeling out of place and unequipped to handle the rigors of law outside academia; repeated interactions, however, inure one to unfamiliar demands and strengthen a lawyer’s ability to adapt.

Stay Curious and Follow News that Interests You

Rather than waiting until changes in law actually disrupt their activities, clients now seek proactive responses that can accommodate a new legal landscape.

Given that students have ready access to guest speakers, student group conferences, and other direct sources for learning, the A&O-U.S. summer associate experience represents an opportunity to develop further awareness of international legal issues., firsthand. Leverage your intellectual curiosity and eagerness to learn early on. Speak to 2Ls, lawyers you’ve met through networking, and seize every chance to learn. This is the best first step toward developing your understanding of not only legal issues but also those challenges A&O’s global clients face in this new business landscape.