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13 Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird’s world-class practice is built upon representing clients affected by technology or the advancing digital world. Via innovative and creative client services, the firm advises on cutting-edge work attracting top legal talent as attested by our rankings. In January 2016 Bird & Bird launched an office in Luxembourg to support its work with the new Unified Patent Court, and as a result the firm is now uniquely positioned to offer patent litigation experts in every country where the UPC will initially be functioning. Moreover, in the autumn, the firm will move to its new London premises to cater for the firm’s planned growth of a 25 per cent increase in headcount in London over the next few years.

Total Listings 149
No. Partners 287
Firm Size 1181
Home Jurisdiction UK
Established 1846
No. Offices 28
  • Telecoms and Media


Bird & Bird’s TMT practice is particularly strong across Europe, where listings represent 11 of its offices, in addition to Sydney and Hong Kong. Among the firm’s highlight work of the last year is its work with Qlik, a provider of business intelligence software, to provide crucial commercial support during the period in which the EMEA general counsel was leaving and the new general counsel was joining. Lawyers assisted with the licensing of Qlik software to HSBC and HSBC group companies, a strategically important deal for Qlik.

Head of the firm’s global technology and communications sector group Graeme Maguire was involved in the matter. He has an “excellent reputation as a leading technology, communications and outsourcing lawyer”. Alongside him, Graham Smith is renowned for being one of the “UK’s leading cyberlaw experts”. During his 33 years at Bird & Bird he has focused on advisory and contentious work in the internet, IT and intellectual property fields. Ruth Boardman, who heads the firm’s international privacy and data protection group, advises on data privacy, freedom of information, database rights and other information law issues and is recommended for her “encyclopaedic knowledge of data protection law”. Frédérique Dupuis-Toubol specialises in communications and IT law and has “an excellent reputation” as a “leading communications, IT and outsourcing lawyer”. The “highly competent” Joanne Wheeler is one of the leading practitioners in the more specialised field of satellites.

The patents practice is “world-class” and home to “seasoned litigators”. Key names include Morag Macdonald, who recently celebrated 30 years at the firm, and Jane Mutimear who is a “patent litigation guru”. Neil Jenkins is “first choice” for many due to his specialist experience in trade secrets cases and Katharine Stephens, joint head of the IP department in London alongside Macdonald, is lauded for her “sound advice”. The firm’s Asia offering is also strong in this sector: Matthew Laight heads the IP group in Asia and has over 20 years’ experience in the region advising on contentious and non-contentious matters. Alban Kang in Singapore is “renowned” for his experience in complex patent litigation; peers describe him as a “formidable litigator”. 

Bird & Bird boasts a cross-disciplinary practice focused on the life sciences industry and works with over 50 per cent of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. Co-heads Marc Martens and Mark Hilton come highly recommended. Martens in Brussels specialises in regulatory law and advises on life cycle management, data exclusivity, marketing and reimbursement authorisations and clinical trials. Hilton is based in the London office and he is a “seasoned patent litigator” advising clients in the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical device sectors. 

On 15 January 2016 the firm secured a significant win in the English courts for pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in a breach of contract and trademark dispute with US-based Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. Working on this case was trademark lawyer Peter Brownlow, who peers commend for his “sharp mind” and “diligent manner”. Morag Macdonald is also recommended for her work in this sector, with sources describing her as “great on strategic matters”, while Allan Poulter focuses on international brand management, protection and enforcement, and is “first rate”. 


Bird & Bird’s pro bono practice sees lawyers throughout its network working with their local communities. For example, in Belgium, Christophe Delmarcelle has been assisting MicroStart to create small independent businesses using microfinance; and in the Netherlands the firm is a partner of War Child, an independent, impartial and international NGO investing in a peaceful future for children and young people affected by armed conflict. The Hague-based lawyers advise on commercial, IP and corporate law matters. 


The firm has seen great success from its bursary initiative in the UK, and has made an offer to three students who will join the firm as trainees in 2017 and 2018. The initiative involves lawyers in the London office educating, supporting and mentoring children from disadvantaged backgrounds on opportunities in the legal profession. The firm’s diversity programme also has a strong focus on creating a favourable work-life balance and promoting women to positions of seniority. At present, females make up 30 per cent of global board members, and 50 per cent of the management and development committee members. 

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Law Business Research Ltd

87 Lancaster Road, London
W11 1QQ, UK