Before you attempt to answer the above question, you may want to ask yourself a few others. Chief among these would be ‘What do I want from my career?’ Hopefully you have already given that some serious thought.
What DO you want?
- Is it good earnings, respect from fellow professionals, varied challenges?
- Maybe you want to travel and participate in important commercial decision making?
- Perhaps you want to be close to a particular technology that interests you?
- Does running an international business do it for you?
If you answer yes to any of the above – some might answer yes to all of them – then you will be pleased to note that the career of patent attorney can offer all those things and more. In fact, for many the ‘career’ will actually turn out to be several careers in one.
My career has been spent entirely in private practice, with several firms, in different places. Latterly I have served as a partner in a medium sized firm for almost a decade. Now I am realising a long held ambition of founding a new practice.
In my experience, boredom is rare and frustration only temporary. And I believe that opportunities for tomorrow’s patent attorneys will be even more diverse and the challenges even more stimulating.
But, back to that main question. Realistically you won’t be able to judge whether being a patent attorney is the right choice of career until you have been doing it for some years; reading about someone else’s experiences can only tell you so much.
Many patent attorneys – including me – simply ‘fell’ into the profession. Let’s face it, few people dream about it in their teens. And some decide after a few years that it’s just not for them, and they leave, hopefully having developed skills that can be put to good use in other jobs. But the vast majority remain and enjoy long and rewarding careers.
To gain a training place you are going to need to show some of the other key traits of a successful patent attorney too: you will need to be persistent, thorough and inquisitive.
Persistent, because you may find that repeated attempts to secure an interview are unsuccessful. Thorough, because your CV and covering letter will need to be very good and your preparation for interview will have to be meticulous. And inquisitive, because you will stand a much better chance if you do your homework on the firms with which you seek employment.
And if you’re reading this thinking all of the above is obvious, then maybe…just maybe…this really IS the career for you.