The Legal Cheek View
Ever since Bird & Bird became one of the first law firms to establish its own website, choosing the quirky domain name twobirds.com way back in 1995, it’s been clear that this is an organisation that understands branding. Certainly it has helped that Bird & Bird’s origins are in the sexy area of telecommunications, media and technology (TMT). But it’s notable that as the firm has widened its focus to include more standard corporate and finance work it has managed to preserve a very positive image.
One of the reasons must surely be the strong internal culture that management has fostered – the crowning glory of which is the legendary mini firm World Cup football tournament that Bird & Bird runs. With the competition between teams from the firm’s international offices held in a different city each year, this is the ultimate bonding exercise. As you would expect, the footie is optional, with most just enjoying the opportunity to “meet international colleagues over a weekend of partying”. This year’s event was held in a spa hotel in Budapest.
With Bird & Bird having expanded rapidly in recent years – it now has offices in 18 different countries – such initiatives have helped it remain a relatively tight knit place. Unlike some firms which have sprawled internationally, the mood remains upbeat, with Bird & Bird scoring well in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey for peer support and partner approachability.
Another strong point is training. Few firms do it better. One insider summarised the approach: “[There is] very good 'on the job' training from supervising partner in each department, and generally from associates. Emphasis [is] made on taking the time to give clear instructions at the start of a piece of work, and then follow up with feedback [and] comments once complete.”
Meanwhile, a commitment to fostering autonomy helps explain the excellent work/life balance offered by Bird & Bird. Trainees are said to be “expected to manage your own workload, so you have flexibility if you need to get out at a particular time.” What you won’t get at the firm is MoneyLaw salaries. But if you want a nice firm with interesting work, there a few better options.