The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Bird & Bird has 28 offices located across 18 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. The firm is a leader across a broad range of TMT sectors, including IP, IT, data protection and brand management, and operates in key industry sectors such as aviation, energy, financial services, media and life sciences.
The star performers
Aviation; Banking litigation: investment and retail; Brand management; Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Data protection; Employment: employers; Flotations: small and mid-cap; Franchising; Fraud: civil; IT and telecoms; Healthcare; Intellectual property; Media and entertainment (including media finance); M&A: mid-market, £50m - £250m; Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables); Reputation management; Sport; Venture capital.
Represented Merck KGaA in a trade mark and breach of contract claim against Merck, Sharp & Dohme; advised Chelsea FC on its sponsorship deal with Nike; acted for De Beers Group in a domain name dispute before the World Intellectual Property Organisation; represented the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in proceedings brought against Maria Sharapova following her positive test for meldonium; assisted Chiesi Pharmaceuticals with a series of multi-jurisdictional patent licensing transactions with The Medicines Company and AstraZeneca.
British Academy of Songwriters Composers & Authors; BT; Dr. Reddy's Laboratories; EE, Fabergé; House of Fraser; KCH Management; Philip Morris International; Property Alliance Group; Rugby Football Union.
Bird & Bird's 'fantastic IP department' won over trainees, as did the firm's 'great people and amazing work'. The firm has won three Lex 100 Winner medals this year, including one in the vacation scheme category, which proves that gaining an insight into the business never fails to convince prospective trainees that Bird & Bird is the firm for them. A recurring theme throughout the feedback was the 'varied and interesting' work on offer which 'covers a broad range of sectors and industries', as well the 'culture' and 'friendly atmosphere' of the firm. 'Inclusive' training means that 'trainees are encouraged to get involved in as much as they are able to' which ultimately leads to recruits feeling 'more valued'. Trainees also appreciate being afforded 'more client contact' whilst getting their teeth stuck into 'less run-of-the-mill tasks' and completing 'high-quality work'. Many of the current cohort praised the 'work/life balance' and 'less stressful' environment, which is complemented by staff who are 'willing to take the time to help you develop'. The 'views' from the 'lovely new office' also deserve a mention. There were some minor grumbles about 'lack of associate supervision' and the salary, which is perceived as 'slightly lower than at other firms' but this was generally acknowledged to be a 'trade-off' for working at 'such a great firm'. Best moments included 'attending an arbitration abroad', undertaking a client secondment and 'going to the Oxford vs Cambridge rugby match at Twickenham'. If you want to work at an innovative firm with 'IP opportunities' and 'great support' where the people are 'the best', apply to Bird & Bird.
Why Bird & Bird LLP?
Adeena Wells trainee, Bird & Bird LLP
Departments to date: dispute resolution, employment
Degree:Law with French law and language
My first experience of Bird & Bird was at an open day at university and I was instantly impressed at how the values and principles expressed on the firm's website were embodied by those I met. I felt an immediate connection with the firm and knew that it was the place that would help me become a successful commercial lawyer.
During the vacation scheme, I completed research for high-profile clients, created presentations for client seminars, and networked with other trainees and solicitors at various social networking events. I can't stress enough how valuable the vacation scheme is in ensuring that not only you are the right fit for the firm, but that the firm is the right fit for you.
I spent the first seat of my training contract in the dispute resolution team where I experienced arbitration, mediation and litigation first-hand. I have also been exposed to various sectors, including banking and financial services, sports, retail and consumer, and energy, which has really demonstrated how the firm is able to work seamlessly in different key sectors across all departments, something which definitely sets Bird & Bird apart from its competitors. My current seat is in the employment team, where my work generally consists of drafting and amending employment contracts, writing articles on relevant legal updates and preparing court documents.
As well as a fast-paced and exciting legal career at Bird & Bird, I have also got involved with the firm's social and volunteering activities; as part of the women's football team and through volunteering in schools and legal advice centres, I've been able to develop a completely different skill-set and pursue my personal interests. As a trainee I have definitely felt supported by the firm both personally and professionally, which is something that I greatly value.
Vacation Scheme Insider
Jason White, future trainee, Bird & Bird LLPUniversity: University of York Degree: Electronic Engineering with Business Management
At the time of applying to Bird & Bird, I was in my final year at the University of York, studying Electronic Engineering with Business Management. I became interested in a legal career after completing a module, which brought to my attention the issues around technological innovation and intellectual property, and also artificial intelligence/machine learning within the legal industry. After I completed a few patent, contract, and copyright exercises, I realised that a technical background would be advantageous in the legal industry, as it would complement the analytical and problem-solving aspects of law, through finding solutions based on a set of rules. This, along with the intellectually challenging nature of the profession led me to pursue a career in law.
Why Bird & Bird?
I wanted to apply for firms which were innovative, embraced technology, and had strong Intellectual Property practices. I wanted to be someone who could fully utilise my technical background, hopefully provide valuable ideas which would be considered, and contribute to the overall development of the firm, and not be restricted as ‘just a lawyer’. Also, as a non-lawyer, I had a couple of negative preconceptions about law firm atmospheres, so I made sure to search for firms that I believed were friendly.
Naturally, I was drawn to Bird & Bird as it was consistently recognised as a leader across many fields, including Intellectual Property and Technology. I was also very interested in Bird & Bird’s sector focus, which allows their lawyers to specialise in specific commercial areas, and become experts in those fields. By training at Bird & Bird, I knew that I would get the chance to learn from the best lawyers within these sectors, and improve my overall development as a lawyer. Their sector focus also allows Bird & Bird to attract a high-quality client base within those fields. When looking through overall reviews of the firm, Bird & Bird consistently came up as a friendly firm, where all staff were approachable, and they had an open-door policy. Furthermore, as an avid gamer, I was also impressed when I heard the firm had eSports teams within their client base! Basically, I chose to pursue a career at Bird & Bird due to the combination of its award-winning reputation, stellar intellectual property and technology practices, excellent training potential, international reach, quality client base, and personable nature.
My vacation scheme lasted two weeks, where I sat with an associate in the Intellectual Property department. We were also assigned ‘Trainee Buddies’, who were trainees within the department who could help with any questions, take you to events, and help you find your feet within the firm. One thing that noticed about the open-door policy, was that there were almost literally no doors within the departments! This made approaching other members of staff at all levels, much more natural, and less intimidating.
During the vacation scheme, we were encouraged to attend various social events throughout the two weeks, many of which included free food and drinks! On the first day, the vacation scheme intake was split into two teams, where we then took part in a scavenger hunt within walking distance of the firm, which ended with food and drinks. It included tasks like gathering in a phone box, and doing face swaps. Normally, I tend to see icebreaker events as an unwanted formality, however, this was actually really fun and added light competition and laughter within the intake.
We later had a meal with the trainee buddies, which was followed with bowling. The meal was a great way to informally speak with the trainees to gain hints and tips, and learn more about the training contract at Bird & Bird.
Later in the first week, we were invited to the summer party in Shoreditch, which again was a great way to meet people within the firm, and see trainees, associates and partners in an informal setting. We were encouraged to have fun by members of all levels, and it was during this party that I was introduced to the associate who gave me my largest project during the vacation scheme.
I was very fortunate that my vacation scheme happened to coincide with the Intellectual Property party, which takes place at the Global Head of Intellectual Property’s house, which again, was a great way to meet new people and enjoy ourselves in another informal setting. (However, I know that the remainder of the intake took part in networking drinks at the firm, which I heard was great.)
The vacation scheme isn’t all about friendliness though, it is also about gaining an insight into law, and life at the firm. Although my supervisor made sure that I had plenty of work to complete throughout the two weeks, there were also plenty of emails going around the department asking if any summer schemers wanted to assist on other pieces of work. My supervisor also introduced me to many other members within the department, who I later approached to get involved with many projects. My particular work included proofreading, helping with drafts, searching for potential termination clauses within contracts, categorising trademarks, and learning about patent cases. I also got the chance to write a consolidated report on a variety of patent searching tools which would later be used by associates within the firm. There was plenty of opportunity to get involved with work, and learn from the lawyers in the department to get an ‘in the flesh’ insight into law. Along with the actual work, we had the opportunity to attend the Court of Appeal, all of which improved my commercial awareness, and overall knowledge around technology. There was never a moment during the vacation scheme where I didn’t have any work.
I would strongly suggest applying for vacation scheme, as not only is it the place where the firm recruits the majority of their trainees, but it is a fantastic way to learn more about Bird & Bird and law as a whole, and it gives them a larger opportunity to learn about you. Following the vacation scheme, I knew for certain that I would be very happy as a trainee at Bird & Bird.
About the firm
Address:12 New Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1JP
Telephone: 020 7415 6000
Fax:020 7415 6111
Facebook:Bird & Bird Graduates UK
CEO : David Kerr
Other offices: Aarhus, Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Bratislava, Brussels, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dubai, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, The Hague, Hamburg, Helsinki, Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Lyon, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Prague, Rome, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Warsaw
Who we are: Bird & Bird is an international law firm, with a rare and invaluable grasp of strategic commercial issues. We combine exceptional legal expertise with deep industry knowledge and refreshingly creative thinking, to help clients achieve their commercial goals. We have over 1,200 lawyers in 28 offices across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as close ties with firms in other parts of the world.
What we do: We work across the following practice areas: commercial, competition and EU law, corporate, dispute resolution, finance, intellectual property, international HR services, outsourcing, privacy and data protection, real estate, regulatory and administrative, restructuring and insolvency, and tax.
What we are looking for: The core skills we are looking for are the ability to work under pressure, high attention to detail, commercially aware, strong communication skills, innovative, motivated problem solver who can work as part of a team.
What you'll do:Two years of in-house training across four seats. We also run a business skills development programme to provide trainees with the basic building blocks for future development within the business of law.
Perks: Private healthcare, life assurance, pension scheme - 5% company contribution, computer loan, season ticket loan, cycle to work, gym membership, employee assistance programme, corporate discount.
Sponsorship:GDL/LPC fees; study maintenance grants of £5,500 per year of study.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: 18
Applications received pa: 3,000
First year: £38,000
Second year: £40,000
Newly qualified: £62,000
Turnover in 2016: £273.8m (+6% from 2015) Profits per equity partner: £454,000 (+1%)
Total partners: 303
Apply to:The graduate recruitment team
What's involved:Online application form, critical reasoning test, video interview, assessment centre.
When to Apply:
Training Contract: By 30 April 2018.
Spring Vacation Scheme: By 28 December 2017.
Summer Vacation Scheme: By 28 December 2017.