Bird & Bird

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Bird & Bird
Bird & Bird logo
Headquarters12 New Fetter Lane
No. of offices29
No. of attorneys1,300+
No. of employees3,000+
Major practice areas18
Key peopleDavid Kerr, Graeme Maguire
Date founded1846[1]
FounderWilliam Frederick Wratislaw Bird and James Moore
Company typeLLP

Bird & Bird is an international law firm with a focus on helping organisations being changed by technology and the digital world. They have over 1,300 lawyers in 29 offices across Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and North America.


Twenty years ago Bird & Bird had an office in London with small offices in Brussels and Hong Kong. After a period of rapid international expansion, today it has 29 offices across 19 countries. Of the firm's 29 offices, 22 were launched since 2000 and well over half of the firm’s partners are based outside the UK.

  • 1846: William Frederick Wratislaw Bird founds a law firm in The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn in partnership with James Moore. The firm is called Bird & Moore.[2]
  • 1853: Bird & Moore takes up residence at 5 Gray's Inn Square, London where the firm remains until 1941.
  • 1884: The firm's founder, W. F. Wratislaw Bird dies at the age of 74. His son, William Barrott Montford Bird, carries on the practice and builds a strong clientele in the coal mining and iron making sector. W.B. Montford Bird later forms one of the first electric light bulb companies whose successor – now a household name – is still a client of the firm.
  • 1898: Now known as Bird Moore & Strode, the firm instructs D.M. Kerly in its first reported trade mark case – an application by The Eastman Photographic Materials Company Ltd to register 'Solio' in respect of photographic paper.
  • 1905: The firm is renamed Bird & Bird under the leadership of W.B.M. Bird and his cousin Ernest Edward Bird.
  • 1909: Bird & Bird conducts its first reported patent case. The case of Z Electric Lamp Manufacturing Company Ltd v Marples, Leach & Co Ltd concerned filaments for incandescent electric bulbs.
  • 1941: Bird & Bird is forced to move premises after the building at 5 Gray's Inn Square is destroyed in an air raid.
  • 1943: Ernest E. Bird serves as president of the Law Society and is reputed to have chaired their shortest ever AGM due to an air raid warning. He was knighted the following year.
  • 1950: Sir William Bird (knighted in 1920) dies – leaving the firm 'Birdless' for the first time since its foundation.
  • 1954: The firm returns to Gray's Inn Square, moving into newly rebuilt chambers at No 2.
  • 1958: the merger with Richard Furber & Son Windsor & Brown ushers in a new age with the arrival of Alan Woods, who eventually becomes Senior Partner.
  • 1967: Bird & Bird gains two new partners on its merger with Ranken Ford & Chester, a firm with one of the oldest histories in London, its origins dating back to the 18th Century.
  • 1973: Alan Woods co-founds the Society for Computers and Law and becomes its first paying member.
  • 1984: Telecoms liberalisation gets under way in the UK. Bird & Bird gains its first telecoms client.
  • 1989: Bird & Bird conducts the first judicial review of Oftel.
  • 1990: Every Bird & Bird lawyer has a PC on his/her desk.
  • 1991: The firm opens its EC office in Brussels, Belgium
  • 1995: Bird & Bird opens its doors to a global audience through the launch of the first law firm with an on-line presence. The firm also opens for business in Hong Kong.
  • 2000: Bird & Bird begins an ambitious 5-year development programme by opening for business in Paris, France and Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 2001: Bird & Bird opens in The Hague, Netherlands.
  • 2002: Bird & Bird opens for business in Düsseldorf, Germany.
  • 2003: New offices in Italy (Milan) and a second office in Germany (Munich).
  • 2004: A landmark in Bird & Bird’s growth as the number of partners exceeds 100 for the first time. The practice in Asia expands with the opening of an office in Beijing, China.
  • 2005: New offices: Spain (Madrid) a second office in Italy (Rome) and a third office in Germany (Frankfurt).
  • 2006: Bird & Bird opens a second office in France (Lyon).
  • 2008: Bird & Bird wins International Law Firm of the Year at The Lawyer Awards 2008. The firm has its most expansive year to date with four new offices in Central Europe – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia and a second office in China (Shanghai). The firm also opens for business in Helsinki, Finland, and expands its London operation via a merger with Lane & Partners. On 29 November, Bird & Bird converted to limited liability partnership status (LLP).
  • 2009: Bird & Bird enters into a global association with Alban Tay Mahtani & de Silva LLP (ATMD), one of Singapore’s leading law firms. The Singapore office is known as Bird & Bird ATMD LLP, and is located at SGX Centre One.
  • 2011: Bird & Bird opens a fourth office in Germany (Hamburg).
  • 2011: Bird & Bird opens office in (Abu Dhabi), its first office in the Middle East.
  • 2013: Bird & Bird merges with BvHD in Denmark to become the first major international law firm with complete coverage of the Nordic region.
  • 2013: Bird & Bird opens in Dubai, its second office in the United Arab Emirates.
  • 2014: Bird & Bird enters into a cooperation agreement with Hwang Mok Park, becoming the first major international law firm to reach such an agreement with one of Korea’s top 10 practices.
  • 2014: Bird & Bird merges with Australian technology firm Truman Hoyle in November 2014, opening its first Australian office in Sydney.
  • 2016: Bird & Bird opens in Luxembourg to support its work with the new Unified Patent Court (UPC), as well as ongoing work in the General Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union.
  • 2018: Bird & Bird opens in Amsterdam.
  • 2018: Bird & Bird opens its first representative office in the United States in the tech hub of San Francisco.


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