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  • Name: Phil Merchant
  • Job Title: Patent Assistant
  • Location: Reading
  • University: UCL
  • Degree: PhD Physics

I, like many PhD students, discovered during my studies that a career in research wasn’t for me. I therefore found myself with the unenviable task of finding a career that was not in academia but would still satisfy my scientific interests and curiosity. Being two years into my job as a trainee patent attorney, I know now that this career was the perfect choice. I am able to read and learn about science and technology almost every day, but also maintain a great work-life balance with a structured career progression.

I initially applied to Boult Wade Tennant based on its excellent reputation and its position as a top tier firm, but what encouraged me to accept a position was the open, friendly nature of the attorneys. This attitude is carried into everyday working practice and I was made to feel welcome and part of the team from day one. Individuality and a creative, adaptable approach are highly valued – these are also qualities that make Boult Wade Tennant very attractive to clients who want attorneys at the firm to work with them rather than just for them.

The quality of training at Boult Wade Tennant is extremely high. The firm works hard to foster an environment where trainees are supported all the way through to qualification and beyond. Being a larger firm, Boult Wade Tennant has a range of attorneys and trainees at all stages of their career – this means you will always have someone to turn to with any questions you have. I have also been able to work with a number of partners at the firm, providing an insight into different working practices and fields of technology.

One thing I particularly enjoy about the job is the range and diversity of work. In contrast to academia, where you may get bogged down in a single project for months at a time, your work as a patent attorney will expose you to new ideas and technologies on a regular basis. You will get the opportunity to remain on the forefront of science and technology but without the downsides that a career in research can bring.

However, this type of work comes with its own challenges. You will be expected to be adaptable and flexible and be capable of handling a large and varied caseload. You must also be willing to approach, with enthusiasm, subjects and ideas that you had never considered before. For example, a large part of my work is to understand and apply the law and this initially represented quite a shift in work style for someone more used to dealing with equations and formulae! However, I found this aspect of my work to be very enjoyable and the perfect opportunity to exercise and develop my problem solving skills.

If you are a person who relishes new challenges and is driven to push the boundaries of your skills and experience, then you will find Boult Wade Tennant the perfect place to guide you in your future career.

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