During my Master’s research project, I realised that continuing in academia wasn’t for me. I enjoyed my subject area, but had ‘project envy’, and was interested by the research going on around me. I wanted a career which would be challenging, and at the forefront of technology in my field, but which would allow for diversity in my day to day work. I think that patent law provides just that. Not only does the technology which passes my desk vary, but the tasks do too.
A lot of the skills which I gained from my degree are transferable to my current work. Being able to pick out relevant information from large documents, get to grips with new technologies, and communicate concepts concisely and accurately are all important. But what I have found to be a big step up from university, is that you need the ability to switch between topics and refocus quickly, take responsibility for managing your time and meeting deadlines, and consider what is best for clients commercially, rather than focusing entirely on the science.
Having only recently started in the profession, I am working towards becoming qualified as both a UK and European patent attorney. We work on real cases from day one, and the training that you receive from the partners and senior associates who supervise you on each case is invaluable. The firm also provides more structured training in the first year, including in-house tutorials which cover a little of everything, from how to get the printer to work, to basic law and patent practice, to German! This support will continue throughout our training, as we complete the Certificate in IP Law course at Queen Mary, University of London, and the UK and European qualifying exams, which are supplemented with advanced tutorials.
It’s safe to say that there is a huge amount to learn, but there is a great environment in the office and there is always someone available to help, no matter how silly you think your question is. The social side of Carpmaels is also a huge plus point. There are plenty of sports teams and events to get involved with, and the firm hosts annual New Year and summer parties, as well as plenty of less formal get-togethers. We are also encouraged to get involved with further reaching events, such as organisation of the annual Intellectual Property Ball, which is a great way to meet people at other firms. Even without all of that, there’s always Friday pub.