Bristows was not the biggest firm even before a fifth of its partners left to set up their own boutique. A difference of opinion on how the business should be run saw IP litigators Penny Gilbert, Tim Powell, Simon Ayrton, Zoë Butler and Alex Wilson jump ship to start their own firm.
Bristows took the interesting step of announcing the departures to the press last Thursday (23 November) rather than sit tight and hope no one notices.
The departing partners approached the matter differently, refusing even to let on what the name of their new firm will be. This is strange, considering that finding a nice name for the firm is obviously one of the most exciting parts.
Whatever it will be called, the IP firm will become the latest in a raft of boutique launches, following i-Law this summer.
At five partners, the new firm will be the largest IP boutique in the country. At 21 partners, Bristows will be one of the City's smaller firms. Experts are still locked in meetings to decide where to draw the line between large boutique and small firm.