• Name: Oliver Herd
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Cambridge
  • University: -Other UK-
  • Degree: BSc Medical Biochemistry, PhD Mechanistic Biology
  • Career Sectors: Patents
  • Areas Of Specialism: Life Sciences

How did you get your job at Appleyard Lees?

I applied to Appleyard Lees through their website, the vacancy of which was advertised on IP Careers. The first stage of the interview was conducted virtually and involved a general chat with a Partner and Attorney, as well as a short assessment on a potential invention in the biotechnology field, which I was sent an hour before the interview. A week later I was invited for the second stage which was a day of work experience at the Cambridge office. During this I met people at the Cambridge office as well as members of the biotechnology and HR team who were located at other regional offices via video conference. Additionally, I was asked to carry out work typical of the day-to-day job of a patent attorney. The opportunity to meet and ask questions to so many different people within the firm was a valuable way to learn about the training scheme provided at Appleyard Lees. Shortly afterwards I was offered the role which I was very pleased to accept!

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to enter the profession?

Persistency is key! There is a lot of competition for limited positions, therefore it is not uncommon for graduates to find it difficult to enter the profession. It is therefore advisable to apply to many different firms to maximise your chances and to find ways to stand out from the crowd. Work experience is a valuable way to learn about the profession more and to give you more to talk about at interviews! Traditionally it is difficult to obtain substantial work experience in the patent profession as most firms do not offer it. However, some firms offer open days which can be a good way to learn more about the day-to-day job and the training process. Others such as Appleyard Lees offer work experience as part of the interview process. Another good way to obtain work experience in intellectual property is through university based and NHS associated tech transfer teams.

What is it like working at Appleyard Lees?

Appleyard Lees is a great firm to work for and train at. There is a friendly, inclusive atmosphere where you feel valued. Good quality training is delivered in house, in the form of structured tutorials and general feedback from supervisors, and externally in the form of revision courses. It is also a very social firm; trainings are encouraged to socialise internally across the offices and externally with trainees and attorneys from other firms.

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