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A&O increases support for students from socially mobile backgrounds

Published Date
Aug 18, 2021
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LONDON – Allen & Overy has agreed extra financial and non-financial support for university students from less advantaged backgrounds. As well as increasing the number and size of the bursaries, students also have the opportunity to receive a dedicated A&O mentor for the duration of their studies.

The A&O bursary programme is a three-year programme of financial and non-financial support for students who have participated in either of A&O’s social mobility programmes; A&O Accelerate or Smart Start.

A&O has increased the number of bursaries from two to six and the amount awarded to each student has increased to £15,000, which represents a £270,000 investment over three years from A&O. The bursaries are awarded to high potential students about to embark on their university studies with a particular interest in a career in law.

One of the places will be awarded to a student who identifies as being of Pakistani heritage, in memory of Banking partner Atif Hanif, who passed away in December 2019 and was instrumental in setting up the firm’s Muslim network.

A&O is also supporting former Smart Start students currently at university, with a grant of £1,000 to help boost their academic studies as well as to help alleviate the financial pressures they may be experiencing due to Covid-19.

All students on the firm’s outreach programmes going to university, regardless of whether they are successful in being awarded the bursary, receive employability and careers support through A&O’s partnership with the social mobility charity, upReach. upReach works to support undergraduates to access and sustain top graduate jobs, which is fully funded by A&O for the duration of their degrees.

Vimal Tilakapala, lead partner for the A&O bursary programme said: “We know that those from lower socio-economic backgrounds have access to fewer opportunities and that’s unacceptable. The pandemic has hit less well-off students harder than their wealthier peers, with job cuts and reduced working hours putting many in situations of even greater financial hardship than they were before.

“That’s why it is so important that A&O is stepping up its support now by combining financial and non-financial assistance. There’s no reason why someone who may come from a less privileged background should not be able to have as much success as anyone else.”

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This content was originally published by Allen & Overy before the A&O Shearman merger