Some patent attorneys and trainees say they joined the profession because ‘academia/research wasn’t for them’ or because ‘they wanted to escape from life in a lab’. They usually go on to say that they are very pleased with the career choice they made! For me, a career as a patent attorney seemed an interesting mix of technology, law and business wrapped in an intellectually stimulating and challenging job, which appealed straight away.
I joined the Engineering and IT Group at J A Kemp in 2012 after completing an MEng in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge. The Group handles work from multinationals, start-ups and growing businesses, universities and individual inventors from a wide range of technology areas. Each case has its own particular considerations and challenges so there is always something new to learn. I can honestly say that I have never had a boring day in the office!
At J A Kemp, new trainees are assigned a mentor, the main person responsible for your training and development. The most effective way to train in this profession is simply by doing the job. From day one, I’ve been given real client cases to work on and opportunities to work with and learn from several partners.
The variety has definitely been beneficial to me. J A Kemp provides an extensive programme of in-house tutorials and plenty of support to help trainees pass exams. The firm also encourages trainees to make an early start in contributing to its business development programme, for example by attending networking events or creating marketing materials.
A distinctive feature of this profession is the healthy work/life balance. Although the job is very deadline driven, the lead times are long and if you are well organised you need not match the long hours expected in other professions.
You spend a lot of time getting on with work on your own, but the firm also has an active social side. As well as informal socialising we also have firm-wide summer and Christmas parties and quiz nights.
Becoming a fully qualified patent attorney takes time, hard work and dedication but I am finding it highly rewarding and stimulating. The firm provides a supportive and enjoyable environment in which to work and career prospects are excellent, including the likelihood of significant foreign travel in the longer term to meet clients and develop new business.