Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Bristows LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Bristows LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any other? ‘The culture and work/life balance in conjunction with good quality work in interesting areas of law’; ‘the open, friendly culture and the ability to work with tech companies at the cutting-edge of their fields’; ‘reputation in IP, small intakes, flexibility of seat rotations and friendliness on workshop/open days/at interview’; ‘IP specialism’; ‘work/life balance’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The people that work at the firm and the culture it promotes’; ‘people are approachable and helpful and the trainee intake are always supportive of each other’; ‘many bundling tasks have been made a lot easier as other trainees have come to help out’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The few windowless offices and lack of perks’; ‘feedback is not always forthcoming and people can be too nice rather than giving constructive criticism and areas to improve on’; ‘lack of international opportunities and frustrating seat rotations due to small intakes’; ‘a close tie between the lack of a canteen and the absence of international secondments’

Best moment? ‘Being involved in a high-profile data breach case’; ‘leading the negotiation of an agreement whilst on secondment’; ‘being trusted to resolve a contractual dispute within the business while on secondment’; ‘getting to ask questions during an expert meeting’

Worst moment? ‘Writing up attendance notes from expert meetings in Patent Litigation’; ‘late night bundling preparing for serving fact evidence in a trial’; ‘inexplicable seat allocations in the final six months of my training contract’; ‘managing last minute bundle updates at 2am’

 

The Lex 100 verdict on Bristows LLP

The firm: Bristows is a European-headquartered hub for litigation, transactions and advice throughout the world. It helps clients grow in life sciences, technology and other dynamic sectors. It provides advice on all their legal matters and is proud to be different.

The deals: 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.

The clients: Alzheimer’s Research UK; Deloitte; Dropbox; Johnson & Johnson;  Mastercard; Moet Hennessy; Philips; Telenor; Teva; WPP.

The verdict

Bristows LLP, well known for its tech and IP expertise, is a strong contender for students looking to train at an elite City firm, focused on these specialisms with a broad business outlook, ambitious growth strategy and a small intake. The firm bags Lex 100 Winner awards for its social life, the quality of its vacation scheme, and the approachability of the partners. Its trainees commend the firm’s ‘reputation in IP, flexibility of seat rotations and friendliness on open days and at the interview stage’. Trainees also highly rate the training quality compared with competing firms, highlighting that there are ‘fewer training seminars (which is good or bad depending on your perspective), leaner teams so greater responsibility, greater willingness on the part of more senior fee-earners to let you have a go at stuff and provide feedback’. Demonstrating the firm’s sociable culture, trainees describe that their favourite thing about Bristows is ‘the people that work at the firm and the culture it promotes. People are approachable and helpful and the trainee intake are always supportive of each other. Many bundling tasks have been a lot easier as other trainees have come to help out’. Downsides include some ambiguity over seat allocation decisions, ‘the few windowless offices and lack of perks’ and the somewhat limited ‘availability of feedback’ and international secondments. However, trainees highly praised industry secondments saying it was ‘great experience to develop soft skills and gain confidence doing ‘real lawyer stuff”. For data privacy and IP-minded students looking for an expert firm within London with a manageable intake size, Bristows is a natural choice.

A day in the life of… Christopher Stubbs, second-year trainee, Bristows LLP

Christopher Stubbs, Bristows LLP

Departments to date: Patent litigation, corporate

University: University of Liverpool

Degree: Biochemistry (MBiolSci), First class

8.00am: I start my working day early and I use this time to get a head start on my workload. I find this time invaluable, as I am very unlikely to be disturbed.

9.00am: After checking my schedule for the day I attend a video conference with a client. We are taking evidence from fact witnesses for an upcoming trial. The witnesses are all scientists and so I make sure to take a careful note of what they say so that I can research any unfamiliar concepts after the conference.

10.30am: I draft an email to the same client summarising the outcome of the video conference and listing the next steps to be taken by the Bristows team.

11.00am: Along with one of my colleagues, I attend the weekly German language lessons provided by Bristows. There has been a steady improvement in my German since starting at Bristows but clearly there is still some way to go!

12.00pm: Upon returning to my desk, I have been asked by a partner to produce a research note on the enforcement of UK judgments in foreign jurisdictions. I complete the note and submit it to the partner for review. We agree to meet in the afternoon to discuss any comments that the partner may have.

1.00pm: I attend a ‘patent litigation know-how’ session, where associates and partners present on recent case law and developments in court procedure. I pay attention to the way the presentations are delivered because I will be presenting next month! I also help myself to the complimentary lunch and catch up with some of my colleagues after the presentations have finished.

2.00pm: Now that the partner has had a chance to review my research note we meet to discuss any amendments that may be needed. I then make the required changes and the note is ready to be sent to the client.

3.00pm: It is time for the weekly meeting for one of the cases that I am working on. I take a note of any action points, as I am responsible for updating the case action list. I am also assigned various tasks to complete during the course of the week. These tasks include drafting a letter in response to the opposing party’s solicitors and conducting an expert witness search.

4.00pm: A senior associate has asked me to review a witness statement that they have been drafting in preparation for making an application to the court. I carefully read the witness statement, marking up any comments that I have as I go along and paying special attention to any cross-references. I then return the marked up document to the senior associate for review.

5.30pm: I check my to-do list and decide to complete a piece of research that I was assigned yesterday. The research task requires me to browse publicly available resources in order to try to determine the number of sales of a particular product in the UK. I have been asked to carry this out, as we believe the product has infringed a patent belonging to one of the firm’s clients.

6.30pm: I take the opportunity to update my training contract record with the tasks that I completed last week. I then submit the completed section of my training contract record to my supervising partner, who will review my entries in due course.

7.00pm: My working day is over. I meet up with the other members of the Bristows football team and we leave the office to go and play a six-a-side football match in the local corporate league.

About the firm

Senior partner: Pat Treacy

Managing partners: Liz Cohen, Marek Petecki

Other offices: Brussels

Who we are: We are Bristows, the world’s leading specialist law firm for clients that innovate. We offer quality work, leading clients and an environment where you’re given all the early responsibility you can handle!

What we do: We focus on dynamic, IP-rich sectors and have the expertise to solve a broad range of litigation, transactional and advisory challenges.

What we’re looking for: We are looking for the future partners of the firm. We don’t just look for 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 patent litigation. You will work closely with our partners and associates. Part of your training may include a secondment to the in-house department of one of our leading clients.

Perks: Life assurance; pension scheme; private medical insurance; travel insurance; eye care; health assessment; employee assistance programme; cycle-to-work scheme; season ticket loan; discounted gym membership; onsite café/deli.

Sponsorship: GDL and LPC fees paid in full, plus a maintenance grant of £8,000 for each course.