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  • Name: Samantha Southern
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Sevenoaks
  • University: Oxford
  • Degree: MEng Materials Science

I became interested in the idea of becoming a patent attorney while studying for my degree. In particular, I was drawn to the unique opportunity of working closely with both science and the law and to the prospect of obtaining a specialised qualification. I started applying for jobs as a trainee patent attorney at the beginning of my final year at University. This involved sending off applications to patent firms, completing tests and finally attending interviews. After two stimulating interviews at E+F involving technical and literacy challenges, I was offered a job in the Chemistry department and started work in September 2018.

Right from the first day on the job I was responsible for work on real cases. My work mostly includes prosecution concerning European patents which entails drafting responses to Examination reports. This work brings many legal and technical challenges and therefore acts as an excellent source of training during the first year as a trainee. All of my work is thoroughly checked by my supervisor, a partner at E+F, who is always willing to give up his time to provide constructive feedback and experienced advice.

The training process involves several years of exams and independent study and does require hard work and dedication. As I have just completed my first year as a trainee and am now familiar with patents, I will soon be attending the Queen Mary (QM) certificate in IP course. Throughout all these years as a trainee patent attorney, E+F are extremely supportive. For instance, the firm provides both internal and external training for exams, study leave allowances and assistance every step of the way.

My first year has been thoroughly enjoyable, not least due to the positive and friendly atmosphere at E+F. I have been made to feel like part of a team from day one and there are always people available to offer guidance and to answer questions regarding any aspect of working life. I have taken so much from my first year in the job and cannot wait for my time ahead working with E+F.

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