• Name: Alice Wilson
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: London
  • University: Durham
  • Degree: MChem (Hons) Chemistry
  • Areas of Specialism: Chemistry
J A Kemp - Alice Wilson

I really enjoyed my degree, but I realised quite early on that I did not want to pursue a career working in a lab. I wanted a job where I could use my scientific knowledge and the skills I had acquired from my degree, but in a commercial context. I saw an advert online for an open day at an IP firm, and it sounded like exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. To find out more about the patent profession, I attended a couple of open days and an internship, which confirmed to me that this was the career path I wanted to follow. Before joining J A Kemp, I completed an MSc in Management of Intellectual Property at Queen Mary University, which gave me a good foundation of IP knowledge before beginning my training (and it also meant that I didn’t have to sit the first round of exams once my training began!).

I’ve now been at the firm for just over a year, and I am very glad that I decided to pursue this career, particularly at J A Kemp. The work is varied and intellectually stimulating – there’s always something new to learn, and no two days are the same! As a trainee, you will be working on real cases from the get-go (under the supervision of your mentoring partner). As J A Kemp is a large, well-known firm, we work for a diverse range of clients spanning a large breadth of technologies. For me, that’s the best part of the job – getting to work with inventions at the forefront of technology before they come onto the market.

As a trainee patent attorney, there’s a lot to learn and exams to prepare for, but the firm provides lots of support to help you through the process. Every trainee is assigned a partner as their mentor, who oversees their progress and offers guidance on any questions or issues that may arise. Your mentor will provide most of your work at first, but you will also begin to work with multiple partners as your training progresses. This means that you get to experience a range of working styles, helping to shape you into a well-rounded attorney.

Alongside the on-the-job training, the firm runs in-house tutorials to prepare you for the exams. These are run by trainees/associates who have recently taken the exams, so they have up-to-date knowledge on what to expect and how to prepare. There’s also a monthly “junior journal club”, where trainees discuss case law.

As a large firm, J A Kemp is a very sociable place to work. You will join the firm as part of a cohort of trainees, and everyone is really friendly and approachable. There’s plenty going on outside of work, from firm-wide events and parties, to sports and pub trips. A really great thing about the profession is that there isn’t a culture of working long hours, so I’ve found that I’ve been able to maintain a really good work-life balance since joining the firm. In addition, the firm’s Mental Health Committee and Diversity and Inclusion Committee are continually working to ensure that J A Kemp is an enjoyable, supportive and inclusive place to work for everyone.

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