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  • Name: Natalie Vaughan
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: London
  • University: Bath
  • Degree: PhD in Biochemistry
  • Career Sectors: Patents


During my PhD I realised that a career in academia was not for me. When searching for alternative career options, I came across a career as a patent attorney. After some research into the profession, I decided that a career as a patent attorney was a perfect fit for me because it would allow me to use my technical skills in a commercial setting.

When applying for trainee positions, I sent my CV to firms that I felt would be a good fit for myself. My first impression of E+F was that it was a welcoming and friendly firm. I was therefore delighted to be offered a trainee position at E+F and joined the Life Sciences team in London, in 2017.

I had two interviews at the firm during which I was asked a mixture of technical and problem-style questions. My advice for people interested in joining the profession is to make sure that you know your research project inside out. Whilst you aren’t expected to know everything in your technical area, it is really important that you have a fundamental understanding and can work through problems logically.


Working and training at E+F

I work mainly for one partner, but I have also had the opportunity to work for other partners at the firm, which has helped me to appreciate different styles and gain experience in different types of work. One thing that I particularly enjoy about the job compared to research is the opportunity to be able to work on a variety of different topics. The great thing about training at E+F is that I have been able to work on interesting and important cases from day one.

A particular challenge with the job, especially if you are not starting straight after finishing your undergraduate degree, is sitting exams again. However, E+F are particularly supportive by providing both external and internal training.

The firm is medium sized, and spread over two offices based in London and Sevenoaks. The firm comes together for annual social events such as for the summer party and Christmas party, and also holds after work drinks once every two months. These events are a good opportunity to talk to trainees at the Sevenoaks Office.

My experience at E+F has been extremely positive, and I would advise anyone interested in pursuing a career as a patent attorney to apply to E+F.


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