Diversity and Inclusion

We want to recruit the most talented and ambitious people to work at Allen & Overy. It doesn't matter where they have come from or what their background is: we look for their skills, experience and potential. In return, we provide an inclusive and collaborative environment, where our people can achieve their full potential and make a valuable contribution to Allen & Overy's success.

What do we mean by diversity & inclusion?

So what have we been doing?

Staff networks

Monitoring progress and statistics


What do we mean by diversity & inclusion?

We recognize that people are different – in terms of visible things like age, gender, ethnicity and physical appearance, as well as underlying things like religion, nationality, social background and education.

Diversity is valued here. Everyone has the opportunity to join us, develop with us and fulfill their potential with us.

We want to:

  • Create a culture where everyone feels valued and, included and respected;
  • Bring together teams of people with differing and complementary skills, ideas and experiences;
  • Ensure people from diverse backgrounds feel they want to develop their careers with us;
  • Use the diversity of our people to develop creative solutions for our clients; and
  • Support the evolution of a legal profession that is truly accessible to everyone, regardless of his or her background.

These are the standards we set ourselves and we regularly review what we are doing to see if we are achieving them.


So what have we been doing?


Broadening access to the legal profession

We want you to know about us. For this reason we publish our information with Vault’s MCAA Law Firm Diversity Survey. Please feel free to check out our most update information here: MCAA Survey – Allen & Overy LLP.

We think that the legal profession should be accessible to everyone. We aim to:

  • Widen the talent pool from which we select the brightest and best people;
  • Give talented students the opportunity and aspiration for a career in law; and
  • Have a workforce that reflects the diversity of the locations in which we operate.
  • 20:20 Committment: We have made a commitment to raise the number of women in partnership to 20% by 20:20. This is being done through many modes including targeted mentoring and trainings

The following activities are highlights from some of our offices.


In the U.S.

We support the recruitment and retention of minority candidates by sponsoring several student minority organizations and recruiting at various minority job fairs, including the Lavender Law Career Fair, the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Convention, the Northeast BLSA Job Fair, and the NYC Metro Area LGBT Legal Career Fair.

We provide in-house and external training for our recruiters to raise awareness of the importance of recruiting from a wider range of law schools.

We are signatories to the American Bar Association's Statement of Diversity Principles.

We have a Diversity Committee in the U.S. offices made up of partners, associates and support staff, all of whom volunteer their time to meet regularly to hear issues and review our policies and diversity initiatives.


In London

We run work placements and skills events to support students from non-traditional backgrounds to gain the skills and experience to make it easier to apply to firms like Allen & Overy.

We provide bursaries to high-achieving students from non-traditional backgrounds, to support them through their university education.

We participate in events and programs which raise the aspirations of students from ethnic minorities and socially-disadvantaged communities and encourage them to apply to university and to consider a career in law. Examples include the Legal Launch Pad and Today's Children Tomorrow's Lawyers (programs run by the Black Lawyers Directory), CSET Summer Schools, TARGET Chances Law and Pure Potential.

We are a founder sponsor of the Pathways to Law program, supported by the Sutton Trust and run by the College of Law, which aims to increase the educational opportunities which can lead to a career in law for young people from non-privileged backgrounds. We provide a week’s work placement at our London office for students on this program and contribute to on-going development of the Pathways to Law program.


Monitoring progress and statistics

We want to keep track of how we are doing, so:

  • Many of our statistics are posted online (Allen & Overy Diversity) and through Vault MCAA
  • We conduct regular surveys to find out what our people think. We take the results seriously and use them to drive change in the way we do things.
  • We believe that benchmarking against other organizations in and outside the legal profession is a good way to monitor our progress against achieving our diversity and inclusion aims.

By monitoring our diversity statistics we can track our progress and determine where we are having an impact.

In Hong Kong

A key aspect of our recruitment policy is to attract strong local talent with local language skills and experience who are interested in long term careers not only in their home country but throughout the Asian Region. The office offers cultural orientation training to familiarize newcomers to Hong Kong with the diverse aspects of the Chinese culture. The office provides on going Mandarin, Cantonese and English language lessons, free of charge to staff members, to assist people in understanding some basic local customs and the culture.

Allen & Overy Hong Kong has been voted 'Employer of Choice' in Hong Kong and Singapore by readers of Asian Legal Business and has been awarded 'caring company' status for the fourth year running for their activities such as mentoring and other support projects with disadvantaged groups.


Culture of inclusion and respect

We want everyone at Allen & Overy to fulfill their potential in an inclusive and respectful environment.

Our values provide the basis for how our people should interact with each other and with our clients.

Improving flexibility

We are continuously looking at ways to improve flexibility around ways of working for all of our people. We introduced flexible working policies in 2001 and more than 11 per cent of our employees work part-time, with many more taking the opportunity to work flexibly on a full-time basis. In 2010 we launched an innovative approach to flexible partnership.

The latest technology makes it possible to work outside the office, and records in London alone suggest that every month around 20 per cent of our people work from home.

Taking time out

Our Time Out policy allows people to take unpaid leave to pursue other activities, such as travel, study, writing or caring for a relative. We also allow extended holidays overseas and time off between international transfers.

We also offer career breaks of up to three years to allow staff to take time out, for example to care for children or undertake further study.


Staff networks


Formed in 2006, we have an active LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) forum group for our staff called A&Out, which provides support and guidance to LGBT partners and staff, as well as an opportunity to socialize and network with others, internally and externally with the LGBT community.


In London we have several initiatives to support working parents, such as emergency childcare facilities, specialist coaching for women going on maternity leave and lunchtime parenting seminars. In 2008 we launched parents@A&O, a virtual networking tool for all our working parents globally, which enables them to share ideas and advice on parenting issues and access relevant information.


We recognize that it can be challenging to juggle work with caring responsibilities and have created an intranet site that provides advice, support and useful information for carers at Allen & Overy. We also run regular lunchtime seminars for staff with caring responsibilities.


Best practice

Allen & Overy is a signatory to the Law Society Diversity & Inclusion Charter.

Allen & Overy in London works with the following organizations to ensure that we remain informed of the best ways to support our diverse workforce: Aurora, BLD, Employers Forum on Age, employers' forum on disability, Employers for Carers, Carers UK, Stonewall, Interlaw Diversity Forum, Opportunity now, and working families.