Seat options at Bristows


Many of the blog posts on this page are a wonderful insight into life at Bristows in a particular seat. What I aim to do with this month’s blog is give a very brief overview of the possible seats at Bristows, allowing you to navigate your way around the other resources available to get an overall picture of the sort of work you might get involved in as a trainee here.

Patent Litigation

Bristows has a renowned patent litigation department, with work typically being split into life sciences or telecommunications, media and technology (TMT). As trainees, we work as part of discrete teams on individual cases in one (or both) of these sectors. Work often involves both legal and scientific research, as well as meeting with experts in the field, to gain an idea of how particular technology might work and how the field developed.


The Brands team perform a mix of advisory and litigious work across trademarks, copyright and design rights. Similar to patent litigation, trainee work involves disclosure reviews, drafting and working with counsel and experts during the case. Bristows also works with luxury goods companies to protect the brand reputation by taking action against individuals selling counterfeit goods.

Commercial, Technology and Copyright Disputes

The CTCD team is another litigation focussed team. Much of the work is centred around contractual disputes, from pharmaceutical licencing to IT deals, and can be anything from providing discrete advice, to representing the client through the trial. A trainee sitting in the team will be involved in a wide range of cross-departmental work, with legal research and small amounts of litigation drafting

Throughout the three seats outlined above, a trainee will also be hands on with case management. This means generally running the file, preparing the documents and attending court with the client.

Commercial IP/IT

This is a transactional team split into three parts. A trainee working with the Commercial IT team may help with outsourcing IT contracts, which involves round table negotiations, document management and contract drafting, or can work on the contractual aspects of other innovative areas such as driverless cars and blockchain. The Data Protection team are primary advisors on the GDPR, helping some of the biggest companies in the world achieve compliance  and also working with niche areas, in which a trainee will undertake research and advice drafting. The Commercial IP team largely work with life science clients, helping to put collaboration agreements in place, as well as other types of supply agreements, from major pharmaceutical companies to university spin-outs.


The Competition team deals with the EU Law side of many of the patent litigation cases, particularly in the telecoms sector. Aside from this, the team also does a substantial amount of advisory work, particularly  for clients in the retail and pharmaceuticals sector. The team also assists clients through any competition law related investigations. This is quite an academic seat and many of the tasks involve research, which will underpin advice subsequently sent to clients. Trainees will also consult expert economists and get involved with both advisory and litigation drafting.


The Regulatory team have a strong life science lean. Most of the work is advisory in nature, primarily on medicines and medical devices, although litigious and commercial work are not rarities. Trainees are frequently drafted in to research novel areas of law, with recent examples including medical apps and the introduction of the Medical Device Regulation.

Real Estate

The real estate work at Bristows is purely transactional and generally corporate as opposed to residential. Any trainee will have the opportunity to work for both landlords and tenants, in negotiating and drafting leases and other agreements, as well as reviewing land searches and roots of title.


The Corporate team perform mainly transactional work, with an enviable pedigree in small M&A deals. The department also includes an employment team and a tax team, which trainees regularly work with. Usual trainee work involves liaising with Companies House, drafting share certificates and board minutes, as well as undertaking research into company law.