Allen & Overy

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Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
No. of offices 46 worldwide in 32 countries
No. of lawyers approximately 2,821
No. of employees approximately 5,077
Major practice areas General practice
Revenue Green Arrow Up.svg £1.23 billion[1]
Date founded 1 January 1930
Company type Limited liability partnership

Allen & Overy (informally A&O) is an international law firm headquartered in London. A member of the UK's Magic Circle of leading law firms, Allen & Overy is widely considered to be one of the world's most elite law firms, advising national and multinational corporations, financial institutions, and governments.[2]

Since its founding in 1930, Allen & Overy has grown to become one of the largest law firms in the world, both by number of lawyers and revenue.[3] With over 5,000 staff including over 500 partners in 46 offices worldwide, the firm provides legal advice in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Middle East.


Allen & Overy was founded in the City of London on 1 January 1930 by George Allen and Thomas Overy, formerly partners at Roney & Co. The main purpose was to build a commercial practice. The firm's reputation was made as a result of George Allen's role as advisor to King Edward VIII during the abdication crisis of 1936.[4] By the time the Second World War broke out in 1939, Allen & Overy had firmly established itself as a leading City law firm.

Over the years, Allen & Overy has been involved in many developments in the legal field. Such work has included advising on the first hostile takeover in the City of London and acting for S. G. Warburg & Co. The firm arranged the first Eurobond (issued by Italian motorway group Autostrada) in the 1960s. Some say that the Eurobond issue in 1963 was the single most important transaction in its history.

The Eurobond transaction significantly diversified A&O's practice from a purely commercial into commercial and financial firm. Through the 1970s the firm's finance and corporate practice grew in the UK and internationally.

Although now a global player, the firm was quite international from the outset, advising mostly Canadian banks and companies. In the last 15 years, Allen & Overy has opened offices in international financial centres, branching out into newly emerging markets.

In 2000, Allen & Overy established an online subscription business, Derivative Services LLP, which provides commoditised legal solutions.[further explanation needed]

In May 2004, the worldwide partnership of Allen & Overy converted to a limited liability partnership, Allen & Overy LLP, which works together with associated undertakings in some jurisdictions to form a worldwide legal practice. In July 2008 Allen & Overy broke the £1 billion turnover mark,[5] and, for the first time, over half of its turnover was generated outside London.[6] Also in that year, Allen & Overy opened five new offices in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Mannheim, Düsseldorf and São Paulo, and announced a new association in Romania. The firm also announced a referral arrangement with Trilegal in India.[7]

A&O built a sizable local law practice in Japan following the easing of restrictions on foreign law firms in 2005, and at its peak employed 30 Japanese attorneys in its Tokyo office, but reduced this team to five in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.[8]

In 2008, former managing partner David Morley was elected Senior Partner while Wim Dejonghe became A&O's Global Managing Partner.

In 2009, Allen and Overy completed a redundancy programme which saw 400 partners and staff lose their jobs globally. As well as cutting 47 partners, the firm cut around 200 fee-earners and 200 members of support staff, half of which are based in London. Allen & Overy de-equitised a further 35 partners.[9]

In 2011, the firm made the decision to outsource up to 180 support staff jobs to Belfast.[10]

In 2010 A&O hit the headlines for offering full equity partners the option to work part-time. The move was hailed as a 'watershed moment' for the legal sector. It is believed to be the first scheme of its kind by any major international law firm. In the same year, expanded into Australia for the first time, opening offices in Sydney and Perth.[11]

In 2011 Allen & Overy became the first global law firm to open a Moroccan office, located in Casablanca. This plan was announced shortly before rivals Clifford Chance and Norton Rose followed suit. Their latest expansion has seen the firm open offices in Istanbul, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Some of the firm's notable personalities include two Lord Mayors of London, David Wootton and Sir Christopher Walford who was the seventh solicitor since records began in 1730 to become Lord Mayor. He also became the fifth person in A&O's history to receive a knighthood.[citation needed]


Over the years Allen & Overy has built its international presence and network to 44 offices in 31 countries. Most recently the opening of offices in Toronto and Johannesburg.

Allen & Overy has a network of relationship law firms in 100 countries around the world.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "A&O Annual Review 2014" (PDF). Allen & Overy Website. Allen & Overy. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Transatlantic Elite | Features". The Lawyer. 10 May 2008. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  3. ^ "The Global 100: Most Revenue 2009". American Lawyer. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  4. ^ "The job came about through serendipity. During World War I, Allen served in France and saved another officer... That officer was Walter Monckton, a leading barrister... Monckton and Allen subsequently struck up a friendship and it was this relationship that would give Allen & Overy its big break over a decade later." 'A brief history of Allen & Overy'
  5. ^ "The Times: Allen & Overy's £1billion turnover confirms London as centre of the legal world". The Times. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  6. ^ "Allen & Overy half-year results up 11 per cent". The Times. UK. 8 November 2008. 
  7. ^ Lind, Sofia (25 February 2008). "Allen & Overy Signs Indian Referral Deal". The Times. UK. 
  8. ^ Brennan, Tom (15 July 2013). "Foreign Firms Stumble Going Local in Japan". The Asian Lawyer. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "A&O redundancy programme ends with 400 layoffs - The Lawyer - Legal News and Jobs - Advancing the business of law". 
  10. ^ "A&O boss vows to limit job cuts as firm transfers support function to Belfast - The Lawyer - Legal News and Jobs - Advancing the business of law". 
  11. ^ Spence, Alex (8 February 2010). "Allen & Overy opens in Australia". The Times. London. 

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