- Number of partners: 30
- Other fee-earners: 73
THE FIRM Bates Wells & Braithwaite (BWB) is a unique firm, combining a strong commercial and charity practice with a general emphasis on public interest work, media and the arts. The firm is renowned for its expertise in advising charities. The firm also has great strength in the areas of corporate law and employment law, as well as property, arts and media, immigration and litigation (with a particular emphasis on administrative law). The firm prides itself on its diversity of practice areas, its clientele and its staff.
BWB was founded more than 100 years ago. The main office in London was opened in 1970. The firm is particularly notable for the large proportion of individuals who actively participate in the sectors on which they advise, in both a legal and non-legal capacity. BWB has significant involvement in international legal developments, being a co-founder of the Parlex Group of European Lawyers, an extensive network of European firms bringing together practices specialising in commercial law, with affiliates in the US, China and Israel.
Firm Ethos: The firm’s purpose is to do worthwhile work to the best of their ability for clients they respect as commercial lawyers recognising that they do so in a highly competitive environment. They will, at all times, seek to value everyone in the firm and strive to provide secure and enjoyable employment, preserving a balance between work and home. They will encourage a diverse and open culture which fosters innovation, together with trust and loyalty amongst all within the firm and with clients. All this they undertake in the context of making a reasonable living and always with a commitment to justice and the public interest.
PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORKAreas of PracticeCommercial: 31%
Public & Regulatory: 9%
Dispute Resolution: 5%
Arts & Media: 3%
Charity & Social Enterprise: The charity and social enterprise department is recognised as one of the leading charity law practices in the country. It acts for numerous household names, international charities and NGOs. It has particular expertise in obtaining charitable status for innovative organisations and for initiatives within the sector. The firm, as well as having initiated the idea of the Community Interest Company, has been responsible through the years for many books, articles and other publications. Particularly noted has been the department’s cutting-edge advice on social enterprise; its close liaison with the DTI; its innovative work on helping develop childcare organisations as social enterprises; and drafting the first prospectus for an industrial and providential society under new FSA regulations.
Corporate & Commercial: The corporate/commercial department undertakes work for a wide range of businesses and has developed considerable expertise in M&A, company take-overs, joint ventures, management buyouts, commercial contracts and partnership advice. This department is increasingly involved in the firm’s specialist sector areas of sport, media, health, environment and trade associations.
Employment: The employment department advises both employers and employees on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law, including dismissals and redundancies, restrictive covenants, TUPE, service agreements and injunctions. The department has particular interest and expertise in all areas of discrimination. The department undertakes most representative work in-house, both in the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. It also offers a full range of employment training services.
Film & Television: The film and television department advises on all aspects of film and TV production financing and exploitation. Advice ranges from dealing with securing rights and commissioning writers to obtaining finance – whether through a mix of equity and rights advances and tax credit or through direct offers to investors. The firm’s expertise also includes content issues – such as compliance work or defamation as well as brand protection and exploitation.
Immigration: The immigration department handles all aspects of immigration and nationality law, including work permits, highly-skilled migrant applications, residency, asylum work and human rights. Litigation: The litigation department is broad-based, with particular specialisations in commercial litigation, property litigation, administrative law, civil liberty law, social work law, intellectual property law, insolvency and defamation.
Property: The property department handles all types of commercial property work with related specialist expertise in financing and borrowing, planning and construction, and insolvency work, both for property companies, and also a wide range of businesses and individuals, both as landlords and tenants.
Sports: The sports department acts for regulatory and governing bodies, amateur and professional sports teams, players and their agents and the commercial interests involved in this area, for example broadcasters, TV production companies, sponsors etc. A broad variety of work ranges from the establishment of the Football Foundation to advising leading Premiership clubs and players on image rights.
Theatre & Arts: The theatre and arts department deals with theatre, dance, opera and other productions for the commercial and subsidised sectors in the West End, throughout the UK and internationally, representing venues and other arts organisations.