"It helped me realise that law and other opportunities will not be closed to me, as long as I apply myself. Meeting new people and gaining knowledge of other people’s career paths was amazing."

Smart Start attendee

Opening up access to an international law firm

Young people who receive free school meals are far less likely to go on to work in professional services industry than more privileged students. So too are those whose parents didn’t go to university, or don’t work in the City.

Allen & Overy’s Smart Start programme is aimed at providing these less privileged students with work experience that they may not otherwise have access to. It takes part at A&O’s London offices, and is accompanied by Smarter Futures, a one-year mentor support system where students are partnered with volunteers from A&O or volunteers from some of their clients.

Using our online learning platform, connectr, we were able to track end-to-end engagement with all students who applied to take part in this year’s programme. A total of 258 young people attended a one-day assessment skills workshop, and of these, 66 students were selected for the final work experience programme.

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