My career so far as a Patent Attorney

05 December 2016

“Patent attorney? What’s one of those?!”

That was my reaction when I discovered the profession on the internet a year ago. I was nearing the end of my Master’s degree in Physics at the University of Manchester and I had no idea what I was going to do afterwards. I had always wanted to do something involved in research, but my experience with it at university had put me off. It felt too narrow in scientific scope and too isolated from everything else in the real world.

You don’t hear much about intellectual property in your day-to-day life and I’d never heard of a “Patent Attorney”. But patents permeate most industries and are critically important in bringing new innovations to market. So I did my research into the profession and I liked what I found. A Patent Attorney bridges the gap between science and law – and there’s a commercial aspect thrown into the mix, which I really enjoy!

At its most simple level, you learn about a broad range of technologies and become familiar with IP law. Then, using your expertise in both these areas, along with attention to detail, your job is to persuade someone to give you/your client a patent. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes science and is interested in the wider role it plays.

I soon decided I wanted to be a Patent Attorney, but there were so many firms – how and why did I choose Haseltine Lake? At the application stage, if I’m honest, I wasn’t fussy. I got a list of firms in London from the internet and did my research to find out who was taking on trainees after university. I made a note of the firms that particularly interested me, for one reason or another (for example, it was the images and interesting content on Haseltine Lake’s website that attracted me the most), but I applied to them all.

Once the interview process begins, you start to receive offers, and at this point you can afford to be fussy. For example, once I’d visited the office and met the people who work there, you build an idea of whether you’d like to train at the firm or not. Some firms can be very formal and stuffy, but the atmosphere at Haseltine Lake was a lot more relaxed and friendly – which I really liked.

Another thing to pay attention to is everyone’s job title and ask questions about career opportunities. Do you only progress to Associate or Partner level after the old ones retire, and you’ve been working there for decades? By contrast, Haseltine Lake is a modern, forward-thinking firm and they’re interested in growth – they hire trainees as future Associates and future Partners, so you become an investment.

The training scheme here was also a big deciding factor for me. It’s more structured than at other firms and trainees are involved with real client work from their first day – what better way is there to learn?

Will Dearn

Will Dearn

Trainee Patent Attorney

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