To find out how MyPlus Students' Club evolved read through our journey – starting with Our Background and progressing through The Questions, The Concept and The Mission.
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In the Recruitment section there is a wealth of information about completing applications forms, online tests, and the various stages in the recruitment. Whilst the Disability section provides advice on how to manage your disability during the recruitment process including information on how to inform an employer of what you require and referring to your disability during an interview.
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Profiles / Stories
It’s always great to hear from those who have been successful.
This section profiles many individuals, working across different industries, at various stages of their careers. Their interviews demonstrate that is possible to have a successful career regardless of whether or not you have a disability. They also illustrate the adjustments that can be made in the workplace.
Diversity is not a tick box exercise - it is the key to identifying the best talent
“Diversity isn’t a tick box exercise for us: it’s the key to identifying the very best talent,” says Hannah Salton, Graduate Recruitment Manager for Allen & Overy. It’s a neat summary of the legal giant’s approach, which is based on the recognition that talent comes in many different forms, and that a diverse workforce is essential to reflect the diversity of the company’s global client base.
“There’s a huge emphasis on talent here because what we’re selling is what’s in our people’s heads,” Hannah explains. “So if we’re fishing from a very narrow talent pool, we’re potentially missing out.” Indeed, as roles and responsibilities continue to evolve, the company is now on the look-out for a broader set of skills than might once have been the case. Being a commercial lawyer is all about serving the client’s needs; so being able to build relationships and communicate effectively is just as important as commercial awareness.
“Our employees need to be able to bounce back and deal with adverse situations,” says Hannah. “They also need the capacity to learn from mistakes and to be able to keep going – being a lawyer is hard! We’ve found that people with disabilities often bring with them incredible resilience, which can be just as important as legal and technical knowledge.”
Building a diverse, talented team takes more than just robust recruitment processes: you need to make sure that nothing is stopping the right people entering the pipeline in the first place.
“There may be real or perceived barriers for people with disabilities, such as a lack of understanding about what a career in law involves, concerns about applying to a Magic Circle law firm, or anxiety about how their disability will be perceived,” says Diversity and Inclusion Senior Manager Jo Dooley.
“It’s our job to give them the information and confidence they need to make the right decisions. When we go out to events on campus, for example, we make sure we create a safe environment where students with disabilities can ask us questions and know that we’re going to give them an honest answer. Often it’s a confidence thing – they’re thinking, ‘they won’t want someone like me’ – and that’s why it’s so important to communicate what the role is about and what support is available.”
Support kicks in right at the beginning of the recruitment process.
As soon as a candidate informs Allen & Overy about their disability, the conversation starts about any adjustments they might need. That could include extra time, access requirements, an interpreter or documents in Braille, to give just a taster of the types of support the company has provided in the past.
Key to providing effective support – whether for a new employee or an existing employee who develops a health condition – is flexibility. As Hannah puts it, “there isn’t one way to get it right. You have to approach each situation afresh, asking open questions and being careful not to make assumptions.” Jo believes the company’s approach is working. “We may not shout about it, but what I see on the ground is real support. We have a great team in place who work hard to get it right every time.”
Allen & Overy have been working with MyPlus Students' Club for a while, both promoting themselves through our website and attending training sessions. “Helen delivers really good training focused on what we should be doing for students with disabilities,” says Jo. “It also provides us with a forum where we can ask questions and get useful, practical advice.” Hannah too sees real practical benefits in the partnership.
“Sometimes there’s a nervousness to not offend people, and to ensure that we do everything correctly. Helen has given us some fantastic guidance and the feedback I’ve had from my team has been really positive. They gain so much from having that safe environment to ask the questions that everyone has but don’t always know how to ask.”
With a history stretching back 85 years, Allen & Overy is now one of the largest law firms in the world, with an established international network that includes 44 offices in 31 countries. They also have strong links with law firms in a further 100 countries, giving them a truly global reach.
Hannah and Jo share their top tips for anyone thinking of applying for a role at Allen & Overy.
At Allen & Overy we know that our approach to diversity will be an important consideration for individuals researching the firm or applying for open days, vacation schemes or training contracts. And we already have a number of initiatives and projects underway to widen access to A&O and the legal profession.
"At A&O, we recognise that people are different, in ways that we can see and ways that we can't. We think that is a good thing. As well as creating a rich working environment that makes our work more enjoyable, the business benefits are clear. Being diverse and ensuring that we are inclusive helps us to attract the best people, innovate and understand and relate to our clients."
Wim Dejonghe, Senior Partner.
Our objective is simple: to attract and retain the most talent people, to benefit from the varied talents a diverse workforce brings, and allow our people to achieve their potential and fulfil their ambitious, within a supportive working environment.
Our commitment to diversity can be seen through out Diversity & Inclusion strategy, owned and championed by the Board and People & Performance Board. It will be reviewed annually to ensure that we are focusing on the right things and our Diversity Advisory Committee will provide guidance throughout the year to ensure that we are moving in the right direction.
We will continue to be committed to supporting diversity in the broadest sense and continuing to ensure we have an inclusive environment for everyone.
2013: ACR social mobility award for best social mobility in the UK.
'Exceptional' status by the BITC regional Work Inspiration Award.
In London we are members and/or sponsors of the following organisations to ensure act we are supporting diversity and inclusion best practice:
Work experience programme designed exclusively for first year undergraduate students in the UK.
Intake: April Length: 2 days (return office visit in September)
Gain experience in one of our practice areas, where you will work alongside our lawyers on real deals and cases.
Intake: December, March/April, June/July Length: 1 week
Begin your legal career at A&O.
Length: 2 years
Recruiters, Hannah and Jo share their top tips for anyone thinking of applying for a role at Allen & Overy.
We believe there’s no such thing as a typical Allen & Overy candidate and we actively seek a diverse trainee intake. We also mean It when we say your university and degree subject doesn’t matter – approximately 50% of our trainees are from non-law backgrounds and we do not have a shortlist of preferred universities; our current trainee intake represents around 40 different universities.
Aside from a commitment to a career in international commercial law and a clear articulation of why you want to work at Allen & Overy, we will look for the following skills and attributes throughout our selection process:
We recognise that people with disabilities require varied levels and types of support; we are therefore committed to understanding your needs on a case by case basis. Contact us for more questions and to find the best adjustments for you.
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