In my final year of university, I went to the careers service with what I thought was an impossible conundrum. How can I have a career involved in scientific research without having to do any lab work myself? The answer was patent law. After chatting with some friendly attorneys at a careers fair, I applied and got a job as a trainee patent attorney at J A Kemp.
It’s great to have a proper professional career while still being able to learn. As a trainee patent attorney with J A Kemp, I started working with partners and associates almost from day 1. I was researching case law, responding to client queries, analysing scientific papers, and preparing arguments for clients. Immediately, I felt that I was doing meaningful work, but each new task was also a lesson, so that I gradually built up an understanding of the fundamentals of patent law.
I chose to work in the Oxford office, as I wasn’t sure the big city atmosphere was quite what I was after. However, I take regular trips to London to attend tutorials (or just visit the pub) with the larger group of trainees we have there. This provides a really balanced work experience, getting to enjoy the smaller office life in Oxford, but still feeling like part of the gang in London, and getting the training support that a larger firm can offer.
While learning the intricacies of law is great, I have to say my favourite bit of the job is working directly with inventors. As a specialist in chemistry and pharmaceuticals, I get to meet inventors with incredible pharmaceutical inventions which I have no doubt are going to save lives. So many of the ideas I get to work with are so clever, and it really is a privilege to hear inventors describe with pride their latest innovation, and to be able to help them protect it.
For anyone studying science, who isn’t quite sure where their degree is going to take them, I would take a serious look at patent law. It offers a good career path, with a decent salary, and regular working hours. But also, importantly, it is interesting every single day.