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I heard about the Undergraduate of the Year Awards via an email sent to me by TARGETjobs and Imperial Careers Service. I’ve found it extremely useful to be subscribed to email alerts and newsletters from my university careers service as well as platforms such as TARGETjobs. The Undergraduate of the Year team were amazing. They even came to my university to explain the application process, which I found extremely encouraging and motivating!

Applying for a vacation scheme or a training contract at Allen & Overy can be incredibly competitive; therefore, applying for the Awards is an opportunity to apply to top companies in a more unconventional way, as well as being recognised for your excellent undergraduate experience.

The application process varied in content depending on the award you were applying to. The first stage of the ‘Future Lawyer of the Year’ award involved completing an online application with two questions: the first one was about giving commercial advice to a company, and the second was a chance for me to talk more about myself and my experiences. I also had to fill in a questionnaire with my details and my academic records. After completing the online form, I then had to do an online Situational Judgement Test (SJT) and personality questionnaire.

After a few weeks, I was called to be invited to the second stage of the application, the Assessment Day. The first interview consisted of a commercial case study conducted by a partner of the firm, and the second was a scenario-based interview with HR. Only 10 of about 200 applicants were chosen to go through to the second stage, so I was very excited to meet some of the other finalists.

The winner was announced at the Undergraduate of the Year Awards final at the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf in April. It was such a big celebration, with all of the finalists for the 14 awards. I was very surprised when they called out my name as the ‘Future Lawyer of the Year’, as I had found the case study very challenging and I had met very nice and bright undergrads during the assessment day. I really enjoyed the lunch, a three-course meal sitting next to a partner and an associate of the firm. It was a great chance to network in a great venue, surrounded by great people and great food – you can’t get better than that! Everyone I met from Allen & Overy was very friendly and excited to tell you about their experience.

Coming from a STEM background and having the desire to shift my career path to law, I really wanted to find out what the legal profession actually entailed. Wining this award has allowed me to see what working in a magic circle law firm looks like, as well as seeing its most innovative side by interning in Fuse, Allen & Overy’s collaborative legal tech space.

The advice I would give to someone who is thinking about applying next year is to take initiative and get involved! I believe university is a time to grow, not only academically, but also personally and professionally. At university, there are so many opportunities to do extracurricular activities and to try something new. Use your undergraduate experience to step out of your comfort zone and say yes to the opportunities that come your way. These experiences are what will develop the skills that will make you different and attractive to recruiters! Also, take the application to the Awards seriously, as it is a pathway to nail an internship or a job: give it time, plan ahead, polish it and try to not leave it until the last minute!