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If you really want to know what a firm's like, the best way is to speak to the people who work there. In this section, you'll read why our trainees chose Bristows and how they're finding life at the firm.

"...Bristows was the obvious choice..."

  • Alexander Calver
  • Katy Gibson
  • Emma Irwin
  • Marc Linsner
  • George Adje
  • Kate O’Sullivan
  • Charles Purdie
  • Joseph Sako
  • Erik Müürsepp
  • Nicholas Michelmore
  • Zina Chatzidimitriadou
  • Connie Crawford
  • Alice Esuola
  • Robert Fett
  • Rosalie Hayes
  • Ben Millson
  • Samuel Munday
  • Sarah Watson
  • Sara Sefton
  • Alexander Calver

    Alexander Calver

    BA English, University of Exeter

    From an outsiders point of view, with little knowledge of exact practice areas, IP always seemed the most exciting area of law to me. Whilst I dabbled in others on work experience placements, my desire to practice in this area led me to Bristows. Here IP is practised within the TMT and Life Science sectors, which for me is the most dynamic, current and ultimately exciting place to train. My goal was always to find somewhere where the work is genuinely stimulating; the combination of industry leading (dare I say ‘cool’?!) clients and cutting-edge work makes it just that.

    You read a lot about a firm’s ‘friendly’ environment, but after two days on a workshop I was completely sold that here it was more than just a word on a promotional material. The ethos of the firm comes, I believe, partly from the diverse range of backgrounds trainees are chosen from. The varied array of knowledge and personalities that the work requires makes it an energetic and entertaining place to work. Indeed, during the interview process the Partners are keen to know about you as a person: your interests and hobbies, and what makes you laugh; it is not a daunting process and this is a true reflection of the firm overall.

    Bristows have provided a fantastic start to my legal career, and I cannot wait to continue my training here.

  • Katy Gibson

    Katy Gibson

    BA History, University of York

    Following work experience in publishing and broadcasting, as well as in the legal sector, I realised I enjoyed the interesting challenges Intellectual Property lawyers face. I consequently decided to pursue a career as a lawyer and became very interested in training at Bristows with its focus on Intellectual Property combined with the opportunity to experience a number of other practice areas for a well-rounded training experience.

    Attending the Winter Workshop gave me an informative insight into what life as a trainee would be like at the firm, including events that represent the firm’s ethos, such as “speed-networking” with a whole range of Bristows employees with different roles and backgrounds. It was apparent the firm offered a fantastic quality of training with a great atmosphere and really interesting clients to match. The recruitment process was also more humane than some other firms, with no psychometric testing and interviews that challenged you whilst using an encouraging and supportive approach.

    Bristows has already proven a fantastic place to train, involving trainees in firm life even before starting our training through a variety of events and exposing us to interesting work from an impressive client portfolio from across a number of dynamic industries right from the very beginning of the Training Contract.

  • Emma Irwin

    Emma Irwin

    BSc Biochemistry, University of Bristol

    Having spent my time at University studying Biochemistry, I had decided that whilst I relished the technicalities and challenges it provided, I craved a job with a more commercial application. It wasn’t until my final year that I felt a career in law would be able to satisfy my need for a competitive and business focused job, whilst playing to my problem solving strengths.

    Since joining Bristows, I have been continually pleasantly surprised about the supportive and welcoming working environment that I walk into every day. The work that goes into maintaining such a great work place has not gone unnoticed. This being said, the work ethic of all at Bristows is second to none, and I’ve hugely enjoyed working alongside colleagues in a variety of tasks. I’m proud to say that I work at a sector-leading firm such as Bristows, and can’t wait to see what challenges lie ahead.

  • Marc Linsner

    Marc Linsner

    LLB Law, University of Liverpool

    As a law student, a career in the legal industry is typically part of your natural progression, however, after two years of study I found myself at a career crossroads. It was only after studying intellectual property law in my final year of university that I knew my future lay in the legal profession. Due to my affinity for IP law I was naturally drawn to Bristows; the firm is renowned for work within the practice area, most notably in the Life Sciences and TMT sectors, so my attraction was instant. With further research, it became evident that Bristows is a full service firm offering a high calibre service to a host of elite clients. I found the combination of working with innovative and market leading clients in dynamic areas of law a hugely exciting prospect and a key driver behind my application.

    Personally, the working environment is equally as important as the nature and quality of work. Throughout the recruitment process I was struck by the emphasis Bristows placed on creating a collective philosophy premised on support, inclusion and collaboration. The Bristows ethos is evident throughout the firm, from support staff to senior partners; if you have a question there is always someone on hand to offer support. The size of the firm and trainee intake is also conducive to creating an inclusive environment and has certainly helped me to feel part of the family from day one. Being part of a smaller firm allows you to be constructively involved from the outset, which, coupled with the support from your direct team and the firm at large, creates the ideal environment for training and development.

  • George Adje

    George Adje

    MSci Mathematics, University of Bristol

    Much of the first few months was spent learning things that law school doesn’t prepare you for, and which I didn’t quite realise would be a challenge in themselves: after having spent six years in further education, adjusting to a new, more demanding routine and simply learning ‘what it’s like to be at work in the City’ took time.

    I have been involved in some interesting work: certainly the most stimulating aspects of the job so far have been attempting to understand the workings of patents during my six months in the IP litigation practice. A particular highlight was spending a day reading a patent – which involved understanding what the invention did as well as the algorithm underlying it – and explaining it to the team, and a US lawyer, in a meeting the day afterwards. Spending time in meetings with expert witnesses and counsel in the lead-up to trial can also be a fascinating experience.

    I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to spend some time seconded to the office of an international tech company. A secondment is more than an opportunity to do some different work; it is an opportunity to examine a client ‘from the inside’ - an opportunity to try and understand how it does what it does, to understand the part of the private practice law firm in the company’s activities, and simply to experience a different working environment. It is an experience I would recommend.

  • Kate O’Sullivan

    Kate O'Sullivan

    BSc Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Sheffield

    At University I realised that although I had a passion for science, I was keen to pursue a career path outside of the laboratory. I soon discovered that law, in particular intellectual property, provided an ideal opportunity to use my scientific skillset in a commercial and dynamic environment.

    After attending a law careers fair, I realised that Bristows could be the ideal place for my training. As a firm, it embodies the criteria that I was seeking; high-calibre clients, a stellar reputation in intellectual property and a realistic attitude towards work-life balance. The firm is frequently listed as one of the best operating in the Life Sciences and TMT sectors, and I was further attracted by the guarantee of a seat in IP Litigation during the training contract.

    I found the application process to be relaxed and friendly, which reflects the ethos within Bristows itself. As part of a relatively small intake, you feel individually welcomed into your department, and firm as a whole, upon joining. I look forward to the rest of my training period in such a supportive environment.

  • Charles Purdie

    Charles Purdie

    LLB Law, University of Bristol

    An intellectual property module in my final year of reading law caught my interest as compelling, exciting, and increasingly relevant in modern society. By the end of the course I had decided it was the practice area in which I wanted to focus my career. After researching a number of firms Bristows was clearly the stand out choice boasting clientele such as Google whilst maintaining a reputation as a friendly and sociable mid-sized firm.

    During the Bristows Summer Workshop I learnt about the sectors and practice areas in which Bristows specialises and met a range of employees during a ‘speed networking’ event. All my expectations were met.

    As a future trainee you are invited to a number of social events including welcome drinks and the Bristows Dinner Dance. These occasions allow you to keep in touch with the firm and socialise with fellow future trainees to help alleviate first day nerves. Combining these events with a small trainee intake creates a supportive, cooperative and social atmosphere; I consider my intake friends as well as colleagues.

    After one month the quality of training and sociable culture has confirmed that I made the right decision. I feel privileged to call myself a Bristows trainee and am excited to begin my career here.

  • Joseph Sako

    Joseph Sako

    BA History and Politics, University of York

    I initially applied to Bristows because of its status and expertise in cutting edge areas of law in addition to the flexible seat structure of the training contract.  However, what really made me choose Bristows was the much talked about collegiate and friendly culture of the firm. I was slightly concerned that it sounded too good to be true but having started my training contract can confirm that everything I read and heard about the firm was in fact accurate.

    The interview process often reflects what a firm is like and the process at Bristows was really quite enjoyable. There were no trick questions or surprises and I really felt that the partners, associates and members of HR wanted to get to know my personality.

    The firm recruits the number of trainees it intends to keep on upon qualification, meaning that there is no competition between us. Being part of a smaller intake and having had the opportunity to attend law school and various firm events together has been incredible. We have become not just colleagues but close friends and this has helped to make the transition from student to trainee much smoother.

    Ultimately, I wanted to begin my career in a place that offered a good support system, great people and interesting work. I wanted to work in a place where I felt I could add value rather than being just a number. I really believe that Bristows offers all of that and much much more. 

  • Erik Müürsepp

    Erik Müürsepp

    BSc Biochemistry, University of Bristol

    MRes Molecular Biophysics, Kings College London

    As with many science degree holders who have turned to law, my realisation that a career in research might not be for me came during my first extended laboratory project on my degree. A few trips to the careers service later and a plan was beginning to hatch that would take my interest in biochemistry and put it to use on patents and intellectual property law more generally. After becoming aware of Bristows as one of the top firms in this field I had several opportunities to get a real feel for their approach to work on both an open evening and the winter workshop. Speaking to current trainees and discovering that their tasks had included playing video games to conduct research for a copyright case really illustrated the varied and interesting work going on in all the departments.

    Law firms often throw words like ‘friendly’ and ‘supportive’ in their promotional materials, but the interview process is one of the few ways an applicant can get a feel for how people are actually treated before joining. During my Bristows interviews I experienced genuine curiosity in me as a person, not just in how my CV stacks up against those of the many other applicants. It was clear the firm had a priority of recruiting colleagues that would fit in well with the local culture and that people at all levels are not only hard working but also refreshingly approachable. The fact that our trainee intake had grown into a tight-knit group of friends before the training contract had even begun is a testament to Bristows being a place where working in teams can be a real pleasure. I’m looking forward to experiencing this first hand in the mix of three and six month seats and the opportunity to go on a secondment to one of our innovative clients.

  • Nicholas Michelmore

    Nicholas Michelmore

    BA Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge

    Having left university with no firm career plans, I decided to consider a career in law. I immediately noticed Bristows as an opportunity to utilise my scientific background.

    By attending the two day Autumn Workshop, I discovered that Bristows was a friendly firm that sets itself very high standards. It was the perfect opportunity for someone like me, who was interested in working in IP and within the life sciences and TMT industries. Furthermore I quickly learnt that Bristows is a full service firm that has a broad scope of high profile clients from many other practice areas as well.

    The relatively small intake means that trainees get very well looked after, and quickly get to know everyone within the firm. Within a week of starting, I already felt part of the team. There is a real impression that everyone wants you to succeed here on a long term basis. The work is both challenging and interesting. I’ve really enjoyed my first few weeks here and I’m excited to continue working in this fun and dynamic environment.

  • Zina Chatzidimitriadou

    Zina Chatzidimitriadou

    BA Biology, Amherst College

    “Hi Zina, could you come to a negotiation in two hours?” is not something one would expect to hear from a partner in their second week as a trainee. With the exception that at Bristows this has been the norm when in our early days in a department, we are expected to attend meetings with clients, barristers or experts and draft case documents and correspondence.

    A year into my training, the enthusiastic words in my application seem pale in comparison to reality. Having navigated three seats in one year, I have already gained a wide experience in transactional/ advisory and contentious seats in areas as varied as the Digital Single Market, the Unified Patent Court and competition matters in the telecoms and pharma sectors and have prepared a number of presentations and articles. A plethora of breakfast and lunchtime seminars and various social events have greatly enhanced my professional and soft skills.

    The Bristows culture is sophisticated, yet collegiate – it is a frequent occurrence that you listen to people talking about a new development in patent law while getting coffee; while the open door policy means that our colleagues pop by and chat instead of an email or phone call. The work is cutting edge (often something you expect to read on the newspaper) which makes people all the more excited to get involved.

    As a trainee you get to meet everyone around and are a fundamental part in the firm’s life and activity – social and professional. The support is exceptional, making us already feel part of the firm – with the new dress-down Fridays being a bonus!

  • Connie Crawford

    Connie Crawford

    BSc Biochemistry, University of Bristol

    I first came across Bristows at my university law fair, where the firm’s focus on Intellectual Property, specifically in the Life Sciences sector, made it stand out from the crowd. After graduating, I took part in a workshop at the firm, which I found to be very interesting and a great way to get to know the firm better. Throughout those two days, I was introduced to the varied and exciting work that Bristows does, the wide range of well-known clients I could expect to work for and of course, many of the welcoming individuals who are now my colleagues.

    So far during my training contract, I have gained experience in the IP litigation department as well as in the Real Estate team. As of the beginning of September, I joined the Regulatory IP practice, which provides a mixture of litigation and advisory experience.

    Both of my first year seats lasted for 6 months, which allowed me to experience the breadth of work carried out in these very different departments. In the IP Litigation department, I assisted with a large disclosure exercise, worked closely with experts and counsel to produce expert evidence for trial and took part in a mediation. In the Real Estate department, I gained experience of acting for lenders in real estate financing deals, as well as landlord and tenant clients in commercial and residential lease transactions. The fact that Bristows is a full-service firm with both large and small clients from a range of different sectors means that you will gain experience of a wide range of work and learn how clients’ needs differ with size and sector.

    Turning to my second year, I look forward to developing my legal knowledge and experience further as well as welcoming the new trainees and supporting them in the challenges that will come with this interesting and rewarding role.

  • Alice Esuola

    Alice Esuola

    BA Law, University of Cambridge

    I enjoyed the intellectual property module I studied as part of my degree and knew I wanted to pursue this interest in a commercial context. Bristows’ global recognition and expertise in this area was undeniably one of the biggest factors contributing to my decision to apply but what distinguished the firm for me was the friendly and collegiate atmosphere. Since joining I have experienced this first-hand and it is one of the factors which has contributed to an enjoyable fist year.

    The work I have been given has been intellectually stimulating and varied. I have assisted with litigation involving clients in the pharmaceutical and telecoms sectors, helped to draft contractual documents and undertaken a secondment at one of our commercial clients.   Being part of a smaller intake provides an opportunity for greater responsibility at an earlier stage and has also meant getting to know the other trainees well. This, combined with Bristows’ culture of support and team work reaffirms to me that Bristows is an excellent atmosphere in which to begin my professional career.

  • Robert Fett

    Robert Fett 

    MPhys Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of St Andrews
    Juris Doctor, University of Hong Kong

    The first year of my training contract has given me substantial insight into the TMT sector. My first seat was in the EU and Competition team where I mainly worked on a dispute for a leading phone company on the royalty rates for standard essential patents. I also had the opportunity to draft advice on patent settlement agreements. The team is run with military precision and the partners are always available to provide guidance and are keen to promote professional development. For example, they encouraged me to write several articles for the department’s CLIP Board blog and to attend external seminars.

    My second seat was in IP Litigation where the trainee tasks can sometimes be unusual: attempting to covertly purchase stolen computer games, working out how to destroy games console controllers and deconstructing light bulbs. More conventional days have involved drafting a settlement agreement for a case heading to the Supreme Court involving one of the world’s largest technology companies and winning a trial for an electronics company in front of Mr Justice Arnold. In the latter case I helped to interview technical experts on the detailed workings of the 3G mobile phone standard. Preparing for and attending the trial was exciting and one which I encourage every trainee to experience.

    My third seat was on secondment to an international IT outsourcing and consulting company. Client secondments are a tremendous opportunity to understand what really drives Bristows’ clients. Secondees are given a lot of responsibility and are encouraged to communicate directly with the firm’s business units on matters as diverse as contract law, the Modern Slavery Act and employment disputes.

    For anyone interested in science and technology, who wants to work at a friendly firm with an impressive international client list, Bristows is the obvious choice.

  • Rosalie Hayes

    Rosalie Hayes

    BA Classics, University of Cambridge

    I was drawn to Bristows because I wanted to work in a top-quality law firm that didn't compromise the well-being of its employees: it was important to me to have challenging work, but not to be miserable whilst doing it.  Now I'm a year into my training contract, I'm really pleased that I stuck to that aim, and even more pleased that Bristows has got the balance right.  It's a supportive and incredibly friendly place to work and trainees are treated really well, but the matters are interesting and often cutting-edge too.

    I've spent time in our Intellectual Property Litigation, Competition, and Commercial Intellectual Property and IT departments so far, and each have been stimulating and varied.  I've assisted with high-profile court cases, attended meetings with household name companies and worked with experts in a wide range of fields.  With such a small intake, each trainee is an important member of the team and isn't kept away from clients or trapped beside the photocopying machine all day.  Feeling that I have a valued part to play has been the best thing about my time at Bristows so far, and I look forward to the new experiences that the rest of my training contract will bring.  

  • Ben Millson

    Ben Millson

    BA English and Comparative Literature, University of Warwick
    MA Issues in Modern Culture, University College London

    I had intended to go in to academia for a long time, but during my MA year I realised that I wanted to do something less insular, but without sacrificing that level of intellectual rigour. As a humanities graduate, the natural field was law. When looking for firms to join Bristows was repeatedly recommended to me not just by careers books and websites, where it is regularly praised for the strength of its Intellectual Property work and internal culture, but also by practising lawyers in a variety of fields. It is the kind of firm which people go out of their way to praise, whether for its reputation for industry know-how and exciting work, its sensible approach to billing targets, or the general approachability of its solicitors.

    For a firm with a reputation as a leader in Life Sciences there is no sense of a bias against humanities graduates; the law is the law regardless of your academic background, and Bristows is also a full service firm with opportunities for trainees to test their interest in all the usual fields of commercial legal work. The application and interviewing process felt very natural compared to some of the other law firms out there, and after hiring Bristows is also really proactive in getting its future trainees integrated into the firm culture in the period before actually starting in the office. 

  • Samuel Munday

    Samuel Munday

    BSc Biochemistry, Imperial College London

    I sat in Corporate for my first six months and really enjoyed getting to grips with the transactional side of the law.  I assisted with a wide range of tasks from the administrative (completion bibles) to the more substantive (amending shareholders’ agreements and drafting board minutes) all of which helped me to develop my understanding of corporate transactions and the lengthy process involved to reach the all-important completion date.  I worked on one of Bristows’ largest share purchase transactions which was a great experience, with a happy client as a result.

    My second seat was six months in the Competition department. I spent the majority of my time working on a huge piece of litigation in the telecoms sector and was thrown right into the deep end during a hectic few months.  I helped with the preparation of fact and expert evidence and was given plenty of responsibility, emailing and calling the other side, counsel and our experts, which was an invaluable experience. I also worked on smaller pieces of competition advice in insurance, pharmaceutical pricing and settlement agreements, which involved working directly with partners, providing a great opportunity to utilise a wealth of knowledge in order to tackle the complexities of competition law.

    I am now sat in IP Litigation, Bristows’ biggest department.  I’m currently working on a pharmaceutical patent trial and co-ordination of global patent litigation. This seat has allowed me to use my biochemistry background, analysing the issues in the case from both a legal and scientific perspective.

  • Sarah Watson

    Sarah Watson

    MA French and Spanish, University of Edinburgh

    Having decided to pursue a career in law, the choice of firms to apply to initially seemed overwhelming. Bristows stood out from the rest as having being a truly friendly place to work, coupled with an excellent reputation for client service. Now a year into my training contract, I continue to enjoy the collaborative and supportive working environment at Bristows.

    The small trainee intake at Bristows has allowed us to get to know each other very well. Another aspect of trainee life here that I really value is that there is no sense of competition between us and we all try to help one another out.

    The first year of my training contract has confirmed to me that Bristows truly deserves its accolades for quality of work and its friendly culture and I feel privileged to be training here.

  • Sara Sefton

    Sara Sefton

    MA Geography and International Relations, University of St Andrews

    Having studied International Relations as part of my degree the decision to pursue a career in law was an easy one to make - I just didn’t know where with the large number of firms out there.  I knew I was interested in Intellectual Property law, particularly within the TMT sector, having had some previous experience there. I also knew I wanted to be part of a smaller intake so I would not just be a face in the crowd. My research quickly led me to Bristows. The firm’s reputation for being welcoming and friendly along with its considerable IP expertise (and a guaranteed seat in IP litigation) made it an easy decision to apply.

    My first interview left me with the impression that Bristows was exactly where I wanted to train. The whole process was great with everyone from HR, trainees and even partners, all being interested in me as a person. It was clear they all genuinely loved working here and were passionate about what they did.

    As future trainees we were invited to firm events and even had socials put on for us to ensure that we all knew some friendly faces before we started. At the very first event, a simple but incredibly nice touch was that all the partners attending had taken the time to learn all our names. This definitely confirmed that I had found the place for me. 

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