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? 
 ''The renowned reputation in intellectual property' 'the work/life balance' 'the friendly people' 'it is frequently ranked as one of the best firms for intellectual property' 'smaller size' 'sociable atmosphere' 'great clients' 'I felt that the firm matched my character' 'the inclusive environment' 'the extremely close contact with partners'
Best thing about the firm? 
 ''Everyone is passionate about what they do without taking themselves so seriously' 'enjoyable place to work' the size of the clients we work with compared to the medium size of the firm' 'nobody judges you for not understanding something' 'the amount of insightful supervision trainees receive' 'top-notch clients' 'you feel like a valuable addition to the team'
Worst thing about the firm? 
 ''Lack of café/food' 'a lack of seat choices' 'the coffee' 'no opportunity for international secondment' 'the biscuits (except in the client meeting rooms) are average and diminish too quickly' 'the pressure to meet expectations' 'the pay on qualification is lower than most other City firms, but we don't seem to work as many hours'
Best moment? 
 ''Sitting in on final contract negotiations' 'getting to write contentious letters when court proceedings were imminent' 'getting invited to a client event' 'winning a court case we had worked on for months' 'the amount of client contact in the real estate department' 'the personal appreciation from partners following a very intense period' the summer team picnic/barbecue at a partner's house'
Worst moment?
 ''Mistakenly serving documents at the wrong office' 'coming in for a weekend - thankfully just once' 'being given too much work by too many different people' 'going to the court at the RCJ and realising I had forgotten a crucial document' 'when the court lost my trial bundles I had spent a week preparing' 'carrying heavy boxes on a defective trolley''

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

Trinity (The Matrix) - a technology whizz who works with the best of the best whilst staying cool and kind

The Verdict

The firm

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: general; Commercial property: investment; Competition litigation; Data protection; Employment: employers and senior executives; EU and competition; 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

Represented Mondelez on Nestlé filing an application with the UK trade marks registry for the four finger shape of the KitKat; advised Paramount Pictures on music licensing requirements, and copyright issues relating to live streamed and online availability of movies; assisted British American Tobacco on the compliance with the UK's implementation of e-cigarette advertising restrictions relating to the promotion of its new e-cigarette product, Pebble; defending Google in litigation against a group of internet users relating to alleged tracking activity and targeted advertising; advised Diageo on a joint venture with entrepreneur Piers Adam to develop a new whisky brand, Copper Dog.

The clients

AstraZeneca; BBC; Capgemini; Guardian News & Media; Marks & Spencer; McDonald's; Paramount Pictures; Novartis; Samsung; Sony Entertainment.

The Verdict

Bristows has a 'phenomenal reputation in intellectual property' and 'world-class clients'. The firm is also 'exceptional' in the life sciences and TMT sectors, with trainees frequently citing these specialisms as key reasons for choosing the firm. Beyond the technical expertise, there is an 'emphasis on teamwork' and an 'inclusive atmosphere' where 'partners are much more approachable', with supervisors praised for being 'keen for you to learn and tackle new things, even if it actually slows things down for them'. Recruits describe their work as 'genuinely interesting' and appreciate the degree of 'direct contact' they have with the 'fantastic and interesting client base'. Working hours are 'much more regular and sociable' in a firm which 'really is one big team', and 'trainees get involved at every level of the case'. All things considered, it is unsurprising that Bristows has earned an impressive eight Lex 100 Winner medals, with job satisfaction and friendliness among the firm's many accomplishments. Be that as it may, trainees still grumbled about the IT system which 'could do with updating' and the pace of 'progress and changes' left a lot to be desired. 'Weekend bundling' and 'having to cancel a train home on a Friday evening to work late' did not go down so well either, although it was acknowledged that 'this happens rarely'. Work highlights included 'being awarded an interim injunction preventing a cheats/hacks website from being able to offer their cheats in the UK' and 'contributing an idea in a strategy meeting, the partner agreeing and us going in that direction'. If you want to work for a firm which is 'frequently ranked as one of the best firms for intellectual property', with a 'fantastic atmosphere', apply to Bristows.

 A day in the life of...

Joseph Sako second-year trainee, Bristows LLP 

Departments to date:  Competition, real estate, secondment to Capgemini, commercial IP/IT

University:University of York 
Degree:History and Politics (BA), 1st 

8.30am:  Not many people are here at this time so it gives me a chance to read through any emails that have come in overnight and get a few small tasks out of the way to get a head start on the day. I grab a quick coffee in the staff common room (the Hub) with a couple of the other trainees and then head back upstairs to my desk. I currently sit with Mark Watts, one of the partners in the commercial IP/IT team.

9.15am:  I have been helping a partner write a speech she is due to give in the US in a couple of days' time on technology and its impact on the healthcare industry. I spend some time reviewing the current draft and doing some further research into areas that haven't been covered, in order to make the final additions and amendments before sending it off for review.

10.30am:  One of the data protection associates in the department asks if I would be available to jump on a call with a client and take a note. I check my calendar and make sure that there are no other looming deadlines before dialling in.

12.30pm:  Bristows is part of the Inn Group which is a collaboration of London-based law firms. Each firm takes it in turns to host lunchtime training seminars on various topics. It is Bristows' turn to host, so I collect whichever of the trainees are also around and head to Darwin and Franklin (one of the client meeting rooms at Bristows - each is named after a famous scientist). The talk is on 'Non-traditional trade marks'. The speakers tend to be experienced barristers that work in the area so the talks are usually really interesting and a great way to learn about the law and socialise with other colleagues at the same time (and grab a free lunch!).

1.30pm:  We are co-ordinating a project for a client to obtain advice from a number of different countries on some specific areas of consumer contract law. I have spent the last couple of days researching the area and have put together a draft of our responses to the client's questions. I grab a cup of tea and a biscuit from the Hub and sit down to make some final tweaks before sending to the senior associate I am working with for her to review.

2.45pm:  I am on clerking duty this week, meaning that I am responsible for delivering anything that needs to go to court or to another law firm. One of the associates in the IP litigation team needs to lodge a letter at the Civil Appeals Office, so I head out and walk up the road to the Royal Courts of Justice.

3.15pm:  A senior associate asks that I draft an email to the Israeli lawyers we are working with on a global project to explain how our client's product works. I look through my notes to make sure that I fully understand the product myself and draft the email.

3.45pm:  I start to write up an attendance note for the client call I attended this morning. I didn't quite understand all of the terminology so I spend quite a bit of time on PLC trying to get to grips with the content and searching for definitions of the terms I didn't understand.

5.15pm:  I get an email from a partner working on a contract for a big technology client asking if I have some time this evening to do some research. I do some digging on Westlaw and PLC and when I think I've found some relevant material I send a note of my findings to the partner.

6.45pm:  I roughly type up the rest of my notes from the call this morning, ready to tidy it up in the morning and look over it with fresh eyes. Once that's done, I prepare my to-do list for the next day, tidy up my desk and head out with one of the trainees for a quick drink before heading home.

About the firm

Address:100 Victoria Embankment, London, EC4Y 0DH

Telephone: 020 7400 8000


Senior partner: Edward Nodder

Managing partner: Marek Petecki

Total partners: 40

Other fee-earners: 125

Total trainees: 20

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

Training contracts available for 2020: Around 10

Applications received pa: 1,500 

Percentage interviewed: 5% 


First year: £38,000

Second year: £41,000

Newly qualified: £63,000

Turnover in 2016: £42.5m (+12% from 2015) Profits per equity partner: £486,000 (+24%)

 Application process

Apply to:May Worvill - graduate resourcing manager.

How: Online application form.

What's involved: A video interview, two panel interviews and a written exercise.

When to Apply:

Training Contract (final year students and graduates): By 31 January 2018.

Training Contract (first and second year students): By 31 July 2018.

Spring Workshop: By 31 January 2018.

Summer Workshop: By 31 January 2018.