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  • Name: Will Dean
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Birmingham
  • University: Nottingham
  • Degree: PhD in Organic Chemistry
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My background

I wanted to get into patent law following my sandwich year at a pharmaceutical company. The juxtaposition between scientific knowledge and commercial decisions really inspired me. I decided to do a PhD to gain a deeper understanding of chemistry but attended open days and information sessions on intellectual property during my PhD. Whilst I wrote up my thesis I began to apply for trainee patent attorney positions.

Why did I choose Barker Brettell?

Barker Brettell appealed to me because of their long-standing client relationships and wide variety of clients – from multinational companies to private individuals and from pharmaceutical companies to car manufacturers. This seemed just right for me as I enjoy facing new challenges.

Working at Barker Brettell

As a trainee, a usual day is spent working with my supervising partner, with whom I share an office. She provides me with a steady stream of work and is my first port of call when I have any questions (and I have many!). I also work with other attorneys in the team who have different technical backgrounds and ways of working, and who are always happy to help.

This has allowed me to experience a wide variety of UK and European related patent work, ranging from examination report responses to researching unusual client queries (which are really useful for the exams).

My training at Barker Brettell has included learning how the business works and the importance of client care (which is much more than just being nice). Time management skills, a fine attention to detail and the ability to learn from your mistakes (everyone makes them) are also really important in this job.

The social side

Barker Brettell is a really friendly firm. Everyone makes an effort to make new employees feel welcome, which really helped when I moved to Birmingham for this job. Trainees get an hour’s lunch break, allowing enough time to go for a walk or run, join in with the Pilates classes or go to the pub on Friday (and many trainees do). Barker Brettell also puts on events throughout the year, such as a summer barbeque, ‘pub’ quizzes and a Christmas party.


Overall, training as a patent attorney is hard and challenging work, as should be expected, but it is extremely interesting and rewarding. I would recommend the profession to you – and recommend Barker Brettell as a place to start.

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