George Poulston

Associate, ICM

"On the last day of the scheme I joined the Hong Kong Vacation Scheme participants to help clean up one of the beaches on Lamma Island in the afternoon, followed by a great dinner with all the trainers"

Reflects on his time on the International Vacation Scheme. 

Studied Natural Sciences at Durham.

I was very grateful to be given the opportunity to work in the Hong Kong office on the International Vacation Scheme. Going to Hong Kong allowed me to consolidate the skills and knowledge I developed on the London Vacation Scheme, where I sat in International Capital Markets (ICM) and gave me the chance to experience a different practice area – arbitration. Many skills such as attention to detail, verbal communication, clear drafting, teamwork and transaction/case management were immediately transferable, and I cemented these during my time in Hong Kong. However, the nature of the new practice area had me doing more research tasks and allowed me to become more acquainted with the vast array of resources on offer at A&O, as well as improve upon my legal knowledge of international arbitration.

There is a very strong connection between the London and Hong Kong offices. I met many lawyers who have frequently been able to move between the two locations either for secondments or even permanently. For example, all the trainees in Hong Kong spend six months in London at the end of their training contracts. Every six months some of the London trainees are flown out on international secondment. It is no surprise that I recognised the familiar warm and encouraging culture that I experienced on the London Vacation Scheme. It was great to be around such a diverse range of people who practise Hong Kong, English and US law, and sometimes even a combination of the three. This not only shows the level of collaboration and integration between the A&O offices worldwide, but the sheer breadth of opportunities on offer at our firm.

The International Vacation Scheme was a fantastic week that went by in a flash. It gave me the opportunity to witness the international strength of this global elite law firm whilst gaining real work experience. On the last day of the scheme I joined the Hong Kong Vacation Scheme participants to help clean up one of the beaches on Lamma Island in the afternoon, followed by a great dinner with all the trainers. This was the highlight of the scheme for me because it demonstrated that A&O values its social and environmental responsibilities across the globe, as well as its people.