One too many frustrating days in the lab, supervising yet another failed experiment, convinced me that a career in research was not for me. However, a fascination in ‘how things work’ – which had originally lead me to do a PhD – was something that I had never lost. I wanted a job that involved learning about new science, required problem solving and understanding complex concepts whilst also offering a clear career path with constant new goals. After a year in the profession, I have been pleased to find that this is what being a patent attorney is all about.
In my day to day job I am involved in the prosecution of patents for a wide variety of inventions. The applications require me to communicate with both the applicant (ranging from small start-ups to large multinational companies) and other patent professionals around the world. I am required to write persuasive responses to patent examiners, explaining the technical detail of my client’s invention, but also to advise our clients on the legal issues that arise in a case, maintaining an eye to their commercial objectives. I spend much of my time discussing my work with my supervising partners and other professional colleagues, who all take an active interest in my professional development and training.
As with most trainee patent attorneys, when I began to look for a job I sent quite a number of speculative applications to many firms. However, when I came to interview at Boult Wade Tennant I was struck by how friendly and approachable all the people I met were and how enthusiastic they were about their job. I was also attracted to the firm by its long-standing professional reputation and experience. Since starting at Boult Wade Tennant I have learnt to appreciate the benefits of being in a larger firm with lots of trainees too. This means there is always someone on hand willing to answer all your silly (and not-so-silly) questions. It also makes the firm a very sociable and supportive place!
A career as a patent attorney offers a very rare mixture of science, law and linguistics. Over your career, you will never stop being exposed to new ideas and concepts. For me, this makes the profession an exciting prospect which is both challenging and rewarding. However, in my experience being a patent attorney also offers a great work/life balance. I would thoroughly recommend both the patent profession and Boult Wade Tennant to anybody looking for a life as a ‘hands-off’ scientist!