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Bristows Graduate Careers

This is the Bristows law firm hub. Find all the key information you need to know about the firm, including specialisms, opportunities and salary information. 

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The AllAboutLaw perspective on Bristows

Bristows is a tech-focused law firm and has been since the beginning, having drafted the patent agreement for the first electrical telegraph. Ranked highly for their Intellectual Property transactions, many of the firm's lawyers have extensive tech backgrounds. Despite this, tech is not the be all and end all of the firm, as it also focuses on life sciences and corporate law. 

Bristows is renowned for its work-life balance, as the firm believes its lawyers work harder when they are no longer under pressure. The firm switched to non-billable targets, believing this makes the focus of a lawyer on the quality of their work as opposed to the quantity. Flexible working is common at the firm, contributing to the creation and maintenance of their inclusive workplace culture. 

The firm is aware that it is not the biggest player or has the largest office, but the support offered to trainees more than makes up for it. With only a small cohort of trainees recruited each year, trainees are given responsibility from day one, working alongside partners in an office with no hierarchy. Bristows aims to support a healthy work-life balance, meaning you won’t be spending all hours of the day at your desk.

Outside the office, trainees get involved in a variety of different pursuits. Volunteering is very important to the firm, with trainees mentoring secondary school students and reading with primary school pupils. Part of their commitment to diversity and inclusion is their work with the Social Mobility Foundations Aspiring Professionals Programme, which offers career guidance, work placements and mentoring to high-achieving A-level students from low-income backgrounds. 

What the firm says

While Bristows may not be the largest firm in the city, they more than make up for it with their passion for legal work and strong work-life balance. The firm has no hierarchy in the office and has been ranked one of the best firms for work-life balance, but this doesn’t mean they don’t work hard. The firm has advised Samsung, L’Oreal and the BBC to name but a few. They even advised Mondelez (owners of Cadbury) in a dispute about the shape of a Kit-Kat bar! 

There is no one size fits all at the firm in regards to its employees. Lawyers at the firm have backgrounds in criminology, immunology and even zoology. Outside their legal work, the firm is passionate about Corporate Responsibility. Bristows work with the Social Mobility Foundation to provide a one week placement for A-level students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Employees even help to recycle work clothes for those who are unemployed and have an interview. 



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Diversity interests

Bristows aims to treat all of its employees with the respect and dignity that they deserve, and they believe this commitment plays a large part in their success. 

Over 20 years ago, they were the first city firm to appoint a female Joint Managing Partner. Now, the firm has their third female Joint Managing Partner. They also have a 50:50 gender balance when it comes to internal promotions, as well as two-thirds of their overall staff being female. Ethnicity wise, 20% of their employees identify as neither white nor British.

In order to ensure this diverse workforce is being supported, Bristows has an inclusion group headed by three partners. The group meets every two months and helps devise an inclusion plan. Progress against the plan is reported annually to staff, to help understand what the firm is doing well and what can be done to improve.

The firm also has a variety of different networks for those from different backgrounds. Examples include the Women’s network and the Turing network for the LGBTQ+ community. These networks allow members of these communities to share their experiences and provide support. They also hold a variety of different internal and external events to raise awareness. Aside from these, all employees are offered comprehensive unconscious bias training. 

Bristow’s commitment to diversity does not solely extend to current lawyers at the firm, but also to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The firm works with PRIME, an organisation that aims to encourage diversity in the legal profession by providing disadvantaged young people with work experience and support with job applications. As part of this collaboration, the firm provides A-level students with work experience. Bristow’s also holds a workshop each year for sixth form students from state schools, teaching them about the career opportunities available in the legal sector.