Vacation Schemes

Vacation Scheme

Vacation Schemes

Experience what it means to be empowered

It can be difficult trying to find a place where you can belong and excel, particularly early on in your career. That’s why our Vacation Schemes are designed to show you exactly what it’s like to tackle exciting challenges every day and experience global success as part of our friendly, supportive and dynamic culture.

You’ll be able to gain real and valuable skills you will use and develop throughout your career, working with industry-defining clients and industry-leading colleagues. You’ll have a diverse range of events and presentations at your disposal that will show you what it takes to excel as a successful international commercial lawyer.

But it’s not all work and no play. There will be plenty of time to socialise with our graduate recruitment team, lawyers and partners as well as the other students on your scheme – broadening your knowledge of the firm, building your network and giving you the opportunity to immerse yourself into the culture that will define your experience with us should you join as a trainee. 

The Schemes we Offer

We offer both a Winter and Summer scheme, for students in their penultimate or final year of undergraduate study, and those who have already graduated. These schemes will give you an insight into who we are, what we do and how we can support you, while giving you exposure to the work we do and a taster of the responsibility you can have as a trainee. 

Our people are culturally and geographically diverse and this is reflected through our REACH Buddy Scheme. This mentoring scheme, run by A&O Shearman’s Race & Ethnicity network, is open to everyone taking part in our vacation schemes. It offers mentorship during the scheme and beyond and is focused on improving the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities within the firm. The scheme is also deeply committed to enabling social mobility regardless of racial or ethnic background.

All those successful at interview who are invited to participate will be paid £500 per week and will be considered for a training contract regardless of whether your scheme takes place virtually or in person.


We’re able to welcome final- or penultimate-year students or graduates from all universities with any degree.

Scheme dates

Winter Vacation Scheme
2 December 2024 - 6 December 2024

Summer Vacation Scheme
Coming soon

Application window

Winter Vacation Scheme
Coming soon

Summer Vacation Scheme
Coming soon

What's law got to do with it?

You don’t have to study law to be a lawyer. Hear from some of our people as they explain how their degree skills transferred to a career in commercial law. 

These videos, originally produced under the A&O legacy, authentically showcase the experiences and opportunities synonymous with A&O Shearman.

What we look for

We look for individuals with potential: open-mindedness, innovation, collaboration and critical thinking. These are the skills that will set your application apart and set you up for success in a high-performing, industry-leading firm like ours. 

Our success relies on bringing together people from all backgrounds, with unique skillsets and perspectives so there isn’t one ‘type’ of person we’re looking for. So, we welcome applications from all graduates who are passionate about commercial law and innovation, regardless of the university they attended and the degree they earned.

Our clients rely on us for more than just outstanding legal advice – they trust us to guide them through uncertain times, deliver business growth and advise them on the future. We can only do the best for them, if we recruit the best of you, so if you have the ability, ambition and determination to make that happen, then you’ll thrive as a Vacation Scheme candidate.

Our academic requirements are AAB (136 UCAS points) or equivalent at A-Level and on track for/achieved a 2:1 undergraduate degree. We do take into account mitigating circumstances, including those relating to a disability, which may have affected your grades either at school or university and there is a space on the application form to include these.

Application Process

The application process is designed to give you a platform to show us what you’re capable of and to set you up for success at A&O Shearman.  

1. Online Application

You will be required to submit an online application which details your work and education history. 

You will then be sent an email which will contain a link to complete an interactive assessment. The assessment will include verbal and numerical reasoning items and two short motivation questions to complete via video. The interactive assessment is untimed and should take around 45 minutes. The interactive assessment is designed to provide a realistic preview of what you may experience as a trainee at A&O Shearman as well as give us an insight into your motivations. 

You will need to complete your application and interactive assessment ahead of deadline. 

You can read our preparation tips to Situational Judgement Tests or take a practice test.

2. Interviews

If your application is successful, the next stage will be an Assessment Day comprising of two one-on-one interviews.

The first interview is based on a commercial case study, where you’ll have time to work through a brief and prepare a short presentation to deliver to your interviewer. This will be followed by a discussion on the key points from the case study. 

In the second interview, you will be asked a series of questions based on scenarios you may encounter as a trainee. 

3. Offer

After your interviews, we will review your performance and aim to get back to you with a decision as quickly as possible.

Regardless of the outcome, we’re committed to providing constructive feedback on your interview performance to help you going forward in your career.