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  • Name: Julia Coggins
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: London
  • University: Edinburgh
  • Degree: Chemistry
  • Career Sectors: Patents

Having graduated with a Masters in Chemistry, I was unsure what to do after university. I really enjoyed my area of science and I wanted to use the knowledge and skills I had acquired, but I knew I was not cut out for research.

My degree included a year in industry working in R&D for GlaxoSmithKline, where I learned the importance of intellectual property and how it was used and valued by large pharmaceutical companies. After graduating and looking further into what a career as a patent attorney would involve, I began applying for jobs as a trainee patent attorney. I was delighted to be offered a place at Abel & Imray, not least because of the good reports of the firm, including its successful exam record, that I had been given by trainees and junior attorneys I had had the opportunity to meet after my interviews.

Abel & Imray is an extremely friendly medium-sized firm with a strong emphasis on quality of work and on training. Last year I attended the Queen Mary course, along with another trainee (from our Bath office). I really enjoyed being exposed to different areas of IP through the course, and I think it is a great way to get through the first set of professional exams. The firm also encourages you to attend CIPA’s lectures and other CIPA events that may be of interest (including CIPA’s monthly drinks night!).

I handle work for many different clients, including large multinational companies, academic institutions and individual inventors, as well as handling work from patent attorney firms from outside Europe. It is great to have so much variety when you first start your training – as well as providing excellent preparation for the professional exams, it gives a broader idea of what the job will entail when you qualify.

I work closely with several different partners and in a variety of chemical and biological areas. Working with different people is hugely beneficial as it exposes you to a variety of different styles and of course to different client expectations and demands. As mentioned above, the firm is very friendly, and all the partners and attorneys are very willing to answer questions. The firm also has regular attorney meetings so everyone can get together for training and discuss ideas and issues.

Overall, after eighteen months of training, I can say that it has been challenging but very rewarding and enjoyable, and I am very much looking forward to my future in the profession.

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