Bristows LLP

Bristows LLP

Address: 100 Victoria Embankment, London, EC4Y 0DH




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘Everyone I spoke to during the recruitment process was very nice and friendly’; ‘forefront of IP’; ‘size of trainee intake’; ‘sector expertise’; ‘treats its employees very well’; ‘big-name clients’; ‘interesting work with a scientific or technical twist’; ‘excellent working environment’; ‘personal approach’; ‘good working hours’; ‘the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in the legal world’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘The quality of work’; ‘everyone is really good at what they do’; ‘a lot of people care about your development’; ‘everyone knows everyone which helps to create good links within the firm’; ‘good selection of biscuits in the meeting rooms’; ‘the interesting clients’; ‘excellent work from a very junior level’; ‘very pleasant working environment’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘You don’t have as much control over seat choices as you might get at other firms’; ‘the coffee in the client meeting rooms is dire’; ‘limited feedback’; ‘it isn’t always that transparent’; ‘communication between departments’; ‘international secondments are not possible’; ‘not being able to have an input on the first seat’
Best moment? 
 '‘Getting invited along to a client dinner’; ‘attending a settlement meeting for a matter which was the first I’d worked on in which I really felt I’d made a contribution’; ‘working on two trials’; ‘working in a team spanning the whole department to complete a deal’; ‘hearing a chairman of a plc read a speech I had prepared at the AGM’
Worst moment?
 '‘Serving documents at the wrong office’; ‘a few late nights of bundling’; ‘doing disclosure-related admin late at night’; ‘patents can be tough for non-scientists’; ‘my taxi almost being hit by an unmarked police car travelling at high speed as I was being driven to a client to drop off some documents’'

If the firm were a fictional character it would be...

The Doctor (Doctor Who) – has strong historic roots, but is completely at ease with the developments and technologies of the future

The Verdict

The firm

London-based Bristows continues to command a market-leading reputation in the TMT and IP areas, and also operates an impressive corporate practice, advising clients on property transactions and smaller M&A deals. The firm 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: general; Commercial property: investment; Competition litigation; Data protection; EU and competition; Employment: employers; IT and telecoms; Intellectual property; M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m; Media and entertainment (including media finance); PATMA: Trade mark attorneys; Partnership; Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.

The deals

Successfully defended Google against Streetmap in a High Court claim for abuse of dominant position; represented Samsung in regards to a major patent dispute with Unwired Planet, which involved the consideration of the competition law issue of patent ‘privateering’; advised LaSalle Investment Management on the sale of the assets of its LaSalle Garden Centre Fund; advised Nicoventures on the branding and marketing of its electronic cigarette products; acted for P&O Cruises on TV sponsorship and product placement deals.

The clients

AstraZeneca; Capgemini; Genomics England; Intercontinental Hotels Group; Marks & Spencer; Ofcom; Pearl Diver Capital; Royal Mail; Samsung; WPP.

The Verdict

Bristows has a ‘reputation for very high-quality intellectual property work’. In a ‘booming sector of the law’, the firm prides itself as a City firm ‘without the cut-throat competitive environment’. The ‘big-name and impressive client list’ were important factors for many current trainees. The London-based firm is full of ‘very friendly, welcoming and intelligent people’. As there is only a ‘small intake of trainees’, the ‘personal approach’ results in a ‘friendly culture’ and Bristows becomes a ‘very big family’. The firm’s three Lex 100 Winner awards are for friendliness, confidence of being kept on and diversity levels. One respondent reported, ‘I am given real work to do and never feel like I am being exploited’. Trainees are ‘exposed to challenging and varied work’ that is ‘super-interesting from the first week’. Everyone is ‘very approachable’ and you are ‘not seen as just a trainee but a valued member of the team as you are involved and listened to in discussions’. Trainees are made to ‘feel equal’ and even when ‘the office is manic, everyone still has time for the trainees’. Top trainee moments include ‘working on really high-profile trials’, ‘winning interim applications three times in a row’ and ‘completing a deal’. The ‘sociable hours’ are appreciated and the firm is described as a ‘breath of fresh air’ where trainees ‘look forward to coming into work every day’. ‘Job satisfaction’ is evident but trainees report that there isn’t ‘much control over the first seat’. Although one respondent remarked there wasn’t ‘anything really negative’, one thing that ‘could be improved’ is more ‘client contact’. Those looking to work at a collegiate firm with a market-leading reputation in TMT and IP should take a closer look at Bristows.

 A day in the life of...

Constance Crawford second-year trainee, Bristows LLP 
Departments to date:  Real estate, regulatory, IP litigation
University:University of Bristol 
Degree:Biochemistry (BSc), 1st 

9.00am:  I arrive at Bristows and grab a quick coffee from the hub, our staff common room, before settling down to read through the emails which have come in overnight and check my calendar and to-do list for the day. In the IP litigation department, I sit with Dominic Adair, one of the partners.

9.20am:  I get a call from one of the associates I have been working with on an industrial patent case asking me to check a reference in the Civil Procedure Rules. I carry out some research on Westlaw and write up my findings in a short note. This research will assist the associate in negotiating an order for directions with the other side.

10.00am:  I have been writing an article for publication in a patent journal, which summarises how recent case law has been developing a new concept in patent law known as plausibility. The deadline is fast approaching, so I spend some time editing and proof-reading my latest draft before sending it to the partner for review.

11.15am:  One of the other trainees is preparing for trial, so two of us help her by checking that the bundles have been copied correctly and taking them to chambers.

11.45am:  I’m involved in a full day meeting with counsel tomorrow so I spend some time preparing. I read the latest round of correspondence between the parties relating to a dispute about confidentiality, review a number of our client’s disclosure documents and make a note of the pertinent issues they raise so that I have them to hand and make sure I have printed all the documents we might need.

12.30pm:  There’s an internal patent litigation seminar over lunch where associates and trainees provide updates on recent case law and any procedural developments that the group needs to be aware of. Accompanied by the usual sandwich lunch, these informal sessions are a great way to learn about relevant changes in the law while getting to know other colleagues that you might not have worked with yet.

2.00pm:  I attend a call with an expert who will be assisting us with the life sciences case I work on. The team is in the process of drafting the expert’s report and to this end, we discuss a number of scientific publications referred to in the patent that might help us convince the judge that our patent is valid.

3.45pm:  I get an urgent email from an associate working on a large telecoms case asking me to file an application at the High Court. After taking instructions and making sure I have enough copies, I hurry to court to file the application before the counters close.

4.15pm:  One of the deadlines for the service of fact evidence is only a week away in the life sciences case I work on and the partner has asked me to review the latest draft of a witness statement and start organising the exhibits. One of the pieces of evidence we intend to rely on comes from the client’s disclosure documents and so I set about identifying the correct document and checking that it doesn’t contain anything adverse to our case.

6.30pm:  The last thing on my to-do list for the day is to draft an email to the client involved in the telecoms litigation, providing a summary of all the correspondence which has been exchanged between the parties that day. Once I’ve done that, I prepare my to-do list for the next day.

7.00pm:  I leave the office and make my way across town for a yoga class.

About the firm

Address:100 Victoria Embankment, London, EC4Y 0DH

Telephone: 020 7400 8000


Senior partner : Philip Westmacott

Managing partner : Mark Watts

Managing partner : Theo Savvides

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 disputes; real estate; regulatory; EU and competition; media and marketing; employment and tax.

What we are looking for: We are extremely selective because we are looking for people who will be our future partners. As part of such a select and high-calibre intake, we will give you real responsibility earlier than you might expect.

What you'll do:During the two years’ training, you will spend time in each of our main departments developing your skills and knowledge. You will also work closely with our partners and associates. Part of your training may involve a secondment to one of a number of 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; childcare voucher 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

Trainee places available for 2019: 10

Applications received pa: 1,500 

Percentage interviewed: 5% 


First year: £38,000

Second year: £41,000

Newly qualified: £60,000

Total partners: 38

Other fee-earners:120

Total trainees:19

 Application process

Apply to:May Worvill – graduate resourcing manager.

How: Online application form.

When to Apply:By 31 January for February/March interviews; by 31 July for August interviews.

 Vacation schemes

For opportunities to spend time with the firm during winter, spring and summer, please see website for details.