The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
London-based Bristows works with leading clients across its key sectors, including TMT, life sciences and consumer products, and continues to command a market-leading reputation in IP. Many of the firm’s lawyers possess relevant technical degrees and industry experience. Bristows remains independent but collaborates effectively with lawyers across the US, Europe and Asia.
The star performers
Brand management; Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Commercial property: corporate occupiers; Competition litigation; Data protection privacy and cybersecurity; EU and competition; Intellectual property; IT and telecoms; M&A: smaller deals up to £50m; Media and entertainment (including media finance); PATMA: Trade mark attorneys; Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology
Advised Mondelēz on its dispute with Poundland regarding the similarity between the former’s Toblerone and the latter’s Twin Peaks chocolate bar; defended Janssen Sciences and G.D. Searle against a revocation brought by Sandoz and Hexal, relating to darunavir, which is a key ingredient in its anti-HIV drug Prezista; assisted Cartier in preventing the sale of counterfeit Cartier jewellery at a London auction house; represented Google and Samsung against Unwired Planet in patent infringement allegations; advised British American Tobacco on UK legislative and regulatory restrictions on e-cigarette advertising
Alzheimer’s Research UK; Deloitte; Dropbox; Johnson & Johnson; Mastercard; Moet Hennessy; Philips; Telenor; Teva; WPP
‘Big-name tech clients’ and an ‘expertise in intellectual property’ were the resounding reasons trainees joined Bristows; the firm’s IP focus ‘would allow me to utilise my scientific background’ explained one respondent. In addition, the reputation for ‘excellent training’ drew in aspiring solicitors. Recruits reported doing ‘less menial tasks’ than their peers at other firms, instead engaging in ‘better-quality work’ with ‘greater responsibility’. Bristows’ trainees complete a ‘varied range of work’ facilitated by the firm’s ‘three month seat’ offering. Also commented on was Bristows’ ‘supportive, collaborative atmosphere’ where ‘everyone can flourish’. Trainees have no fear of ‘asking anyone, no matter how senior, for advice or help’. What would make training better is having ‘a bit more feedback on the work I produce’, and being able to go on ‘overseas office secondments’. Other grumbles included ‘not having a proper canteen’. Worst moments involved ‘accidentally eating a partner’s breakfast’ and ‘misunderstanding the instructions of my supervisor and doing a research note on the wrong thing’. These instances faded into the background when trainees were ‘given full responsibility to prepare a partner’s client presentation (which went on to be translated into two other European languages)’. Little wonder that the firm has amassed an amazing seven Lex 100 Winner medals this year. Recruits would like ‘more pro bono opportunities’ and ‘more publicity’ of them, but on the CSR front, the firm is doing well – trainees can ‘volunteer at a soup kitchen for the homeless’ and ‘mentor students at a local secondary school’. If you want to work for a firm with an ‘unbeatable roster of clients in life sciences and TMT’, Bristows is exactly that.
A day in the life of...
Selina Badiani second-year trainee, Bristows LLP
Departments to date: Real estate, commercial IP, secondment, patent litigation
University:University of Oxford
Degree:Chemistry (MChem), 1st
8.20am: I arrive into the office fairly early most days as the office is quiet and I sit and check my emails and update my to-do list with a cup of tea. I also chat to Brian, the joint head of patent litigation at Bristows, who is the partner I am currently sitting with.
9.00am: I attend an expert meeting with an expert we have met several times before, and take an attendance note of the meeting, which is quite scientifically complex. Luckily, I have been very involved in the case and am familiar with most of the scientific concepts.
11.00am: I attend the weekly catch-up meeting of one of the cases I am currently working on. In this meeting, we review the current action list with the client and determine the next steps for this week. I am responsible for updating the action list so I take careful notes and also make contributions to the meeting when required.
12.00pm: I am back at my desk and have been asked to find some potential expert witnesses for one of the cases I am working on. After making sure I understand the technology, I scour LinkedIn and university websites and create a shortlist for the team, providing details of their experience and qualifications. I also call a few of the experts to check their expertise is right for the case.
1.00pm: I attend a ‘trainee know-how’ session. These sessions are held approximately every three weeks and, at each session, a couple of trainees give an informal presentation to the rest of the trainees. It is my turn to give a presentation this week and I talk about insufficiency in patent litigation, as I have recently done some research on this topic. Although I was a little nervous, the presentation goes well and I feel more confident in my presentation skills as a result. These sessions are held at lunchtime so I grab some free sandwiches after my talk and watch the other presentations.
2.00pm: I have been conducting a literature review of all the papers written by an expert witness of one of the cases I am working on. I have been asked to look for any papers that may be prejudicial to our case. As there are so many papers, I am trying to do a little each day when I have some time. I read three papers and summarise any points that are relevant to our case theory.
3.00pm: One of the senior associates has asked me to look into the procedure for service of a claim form for patent revocation in a particular foreign jurisdiction. I start by quickly checking PLC and then delve into the Civil Procedure Rules, primary legislation and case law on Westlaw. I send a note of my findings to the senior associate with links to the relevant sources I have used, and set up a meeting for tomorrow to discuss my conclusions.
5.00pm: We are in the process of completing a disclosure exercise in one of the cases I am working on, and I have been asked to produce a first draft of a disclosure statement. I have drafted one before so I use that as a guide and it doesn’t take long.
6.00pm: I attend a yoga class in the staff common room, which is organised by Bristows. It is much cheaper than yoga classes elsewhere, as well as being incredibly convenient! I look forward to this every week as I finish my day a little earlier than normal and have an opportunity to relax.
7.00pm: I head home and check my emails on the train to make sure there is nothing left to do for the day.
About the firm
Address:100 Victoria Embankment, London, EC4Y 0DH
Telephone: 020 7400 8246
Senior partner: Edward Nodder
Managing partner: Marek Petecki
Managing partner: Liz Cohen
Other offices: Brussels
Who we are: Bristows LLP is a medium-sized firm that handles the kind of work normally associated with only the largest firms. Established over 175 years ago, we have a client list that includes leading businesses from a variety of innovative sectors including life science and TMT.
What we do: Our core practice areas are intellectual property; information technology and data protection; corporate; commercial, technology and copyright disputes; real estate; regulatory; EU and competition; employment and tax.
What we are looking for: We are extremely selective because we are looking for people who will be our future partners. We don’t just look for super-bright graduates – personality is important too. Team spirit and a passion for challenges and success are prized qualities.
What you'll do:During the two years’ training, you will spend time in each of our main departments including a guaranteed seat in IP litigation. You will also work closely with our partners and associates. Part of your training may involve a secondment to one of our leading clients.
Perks: Life assurance; pension scheme; private medical insurance; permanent health insurance; travel insurance; eye care; health assessment; employee assistance programme; cycle-to-work scheme; season ticket loan; discounted gym membership; onsite cafe/deli.
Sponsorship:GDL and LPC fees paid in full, plus a maintenance grant of £8,000 for each course.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 40
Other fee-earners: 125
Total trainees: 20
Trainee places available for 2021: Up to 10
Applications received pa: 1,500
Percentage interviewed: 5%
First year: £38,000
Second year: £41,000
Newly qualified: £63,000
Apply to:Graduate Resourcing Manager.
When to apply:By 31 January 2019 for February/March interviews; by 31 July 2019 for August interviews.
What's involved:A video interview, two panel interviews and a written exercise.
Winter: 12-13 December 2018 (apply by 18 November 2018)
Spring: 9-10 April 2019 (apply by 31 January 2019)
Summer: 25-26 June 2019 (apply by 31 January 2019)