What you need to know about… Bird & Bird
December 12, 2021
3 min read
An intro to the firm
Even though Bird & Bird LLP was formally established in 1846, it has gained a reputation for being tech-savvy. In 1995, it became the first law firm to create its own website. The firm has 29 offices spanning 21 countries including Australia and the Middle East. It is worth noting the firm has a strong presence in Latin America, due to the firm’s office in Madrid creating connections in culture and language. 75% of its top 100 clients have stayed with the firm for over five years, which only goes to show the firm’s level of commitment to providing high-quality service. Changes in technology and the digital world over the past decade (and during the pandemic) have allowed the IP heavyweight firm to go from strength to strength, with its latest revenues piling in at £380.1 million. Over the past decade, the firm has become well known for helping clients in technology, Intellectual Property and Life Sciences. Training wise, the firm offers up to 18 training contracts every year. To sum up, Bird & Bird LLP is inquisitive, progressive and innovative.
Its key strengths
Firstly, the jewel in Bird & Bird’s crown is its strength in Intellectual Property; the firm won “Best Law Firm for IP” in The Times Best Law Firms 2019. The firm recently won a court battle for The European Commission concerning whether the national courts of Member States had any jurisdiction in trademark infringement proceedings against EU institutions.
Secondly, the firm ranks Band 1 in Information Technology (Chambers and Partners 2021). The Tech transactions team advises on various technology deals, including software licensing arrangements and technology outsourcing. Some of the firm’s high profile work includes supporting BT in a £12bn programme to improve the IT infrastructure used by the NHS. BT was responsible for creating a new database to store patient records. Over eight years, the firm assisted with regular programme management and renegotiations.
The firm’s fluency in technology and IP also comes into play within Life Sciences and Healthcare. The team has worked with over 50% of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. How does the firm work with clients in this sector? The Life Sciences team assists on a wide range of issues, from corporate transactions to product liability. For example, Bird & Bird represented Archimed, a healthcare-focused private equity fund, in three acquisitions in the bioanalytical market. Bird & Bird’s expertise is recognised not only in the UK but worldwide, dominating league tables for Life Sciences in Europe and Asia (Chambers and Partners 2021).
Training, training, training...
In terms of training, it is global, client-focused and broad.
Trainees can look forward to a varied range of seats in the following practice areas: banking, commercial, aviation, corporate, intellectual property law, dispute resolution, employment, real estate and tax. The firm also ensures trainees either complete a client or international secondment. A third of trainees completed a client secondment in 2019/20, being able to work with clients ranging from tech companies to the Football Association.
Alongside the varied training programme, trainees can complete the firm’s business skills development programme, which provides a solid foundation for “your future development within the business of law” (Lawcareers.net). Furthermore, trainees are encouraged to participate in corporate social responsibility initiatives and pro-bono schemes. Lawyers and trainees are currently volunteering at the South Westminster Legal Advice Centre to provide free legal advice on issues including housing and debt.
Finally, Bird & Bird maintains a seamless international culture across jurisdictions; 75% of its clients work with more than one of its international offices. Evidently, the firm values collaboration between people of different cultures and backgrounds. Due to its international outlook, trainees are often in direct contact with clients based abroad and can gain exposure to projects that involve the firm’s offices outside of the UK.
Overall, Bird & Bird LLP offers a plethora of opportunities for those who are interested in technology and would thrive in a firm with an international reach. What makes the firm’s training stand out is the potential to be involved in complex work grounded in the firm’s variety of specialisms.
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