Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Bristows

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

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘It was the best IP firm I found during my research and I heard it had a good culture’, ‘Practice area expertise in IP’, ‘its strength in IP and its reputation for being a friendly firm’, ‘the client sectors, small trainee intake and my background in science’, ‘it is a market leader in IP law and is renowned for high-quality work, a supportive culture and a good work/life balance.’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Reasonable working hours, good quality of work and plenty of supervisor contact’, ‘it has a really friendly culture’, ‘the people, culture and work/life balance’, ‘the people’, ‘overall, the majority of people are very approachable’, ‘getting to work with some of my closest friends every day’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The remuneration’, ‘the hours are getting worse/longer but this is not reflected yet in pay or other benefits’, ‘there are no international secondments, which is a shame’, ‘the pay is on the lower end of the legal market and the IT and training is sub-optimal’, ‘the limited department-specific formal training in each seat’, ‘the remuneration does not reflect the working hours’

Best moment? ‘My end-of-seat review after my first seat and receiving positive feedback from my partner and senior associate supervisors about my performance’, ‘attending court’, ‘being given more responsibility and increasing in confidence as a second-year trainee – for example working on complicated quantum Excel documents to go alongside a letter of claim’

Worst moment? ‘Being shouted at in court’, ‘last-minute bundle updates’, ‘staying motivated working in departments I am less interested in and having to make a new first impression every three months as we change seats’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Bristows

‘Market leader in IP law’ Bristows is ‘renowned for its high-quality work, supportive culture and good work/life balance’. The London firm’s ‘expertise in the technology sector’ continues to attract recruits looking to specialise in this area, and in particular those from scientific backgrounds. Training is ‘less formal and more on the job’, although this does mean ‘more involvement in the full scope of matters’ for trainees, rather than ‘dipping in and out of things doing discrete tasks’. At Bristows, ‘partners are approachable’ and there is ‘plenty of supervisor contact’. Most respondents said that the people were the best thing about the firm; the trainee intake in particular gets on well, with recruits not underestimating the benefit of ‘getting to work with my closest friends every day’. Some trainees would like to see ‘more perks and benefits’ at Bristows. More than one recruit mentioned that the firm ‘has gotten a lot busier in the last few years’ and that it is therefore ‘no longer adequate to pay trainees the same salary for working hours that are similar to Silver Circle firms’. And whilst Bristows trainees get involved in some very interesting work for clients in cutting-edge sectors, this doesn’t mean that they don’t get their fair share of grunt work at times. ‘Bundling for days’ was a worst moment, as was ‘a week of very admin-heavy tasks’. The firm offers both three and six-month seats, and whilst the former is great for experiencing a wider range of practice areas, some respondents found it stressful to have to move departments after only three months. Fortunately, work highlights such as ‘going to court’ and ‘receiving positive feedback from my partner and senior associate supervisors about my performance at the end of my first seat’ help to soften the blow. For a firm which specialises in IP, with high-profile clients in cutting-edge sectors, and a friendly reputation to boot, consider Bristows.

Trainee profiles

About the firm

Senior partner: Miranda Cass

Managing partners: Liz Cohen and Steve Smith

Other offices: Brussels

Who we are: Bristows is the world’s leading specialist law firm for clients that innovate. Bristows is a European headquartered hub for litigation, transactions and advice throughout the world. Bristows does not work to billing targets and aims to recruit inquisitive minds, many with science and technology backgrounds.

What we do: Bristows focuses on dynamic, IP-rich sectors and has the expertise to solve a broad range of litigation, transactional, and advisory challenges. The firm has a true cross-disciplinary practice encompassing its renowned IP, competition, regulatory, corporate and commercial, dispute resolution, IT, and data protection teams. The strength of each individual practice complements the others to provide a fully integrated and comprehensive service.

What we’re looking for in a trainee:

What you’ll do:

Perks: Trainees receive the same full benefits package as full-time staff, which includes private medical insurance, life insurance, gymflex deals and access to our full suite of other lifestyle and wellbeing benefits.

Sponsorship: Full sponsorship of PGDL and SQE1&2. £10,000 maintenance grant per year of study.

Diversity and inclusion

Percentage of female associates: 56%

Percentage of female partners: 32%

Percentage of BAME associates: 16%

Percentage of BAME partners: 5%