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  • Name: Lucy Williams
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: London
  • University: Cambridge
  • Degree: PhD Developmental Biology

Although I greatly enjoyed my PhD, by its end I had come to the conclusion that a career in academia was not for me. I was interested in pursuing a career which was intellectually stimulating, allowed me to use my scientific knowledge but represented a new challenge. I began to investigate careers that maintained the intellectual interest of my PhD but also fulfilled these criteria, and a career as a patent attorney seemed the perfect match. My time at J A Kemp has only confirmed to me that this career is right for me.

One of the roles of a patent attorney is to act as an intermediary between clients and patent examiners. The work itself ranges from patent prosecution to drafting new applications, opposition and many other things. You get to read about inventions from all sorts of technological areas, keeping your knowledge base at the cutting edge of science without having to work in research.

One of the reasons I chose to work for J A Kemp was the size and diversity of both the firm and its Biotechnology and Life Sciences Group. This means that I am constantly exposed to a wide variety of work from a broad range of clients, from large corporations to small university spin-out companies. I am currently working on cases involving stem cells, antibodies, vaccines, next generation PCR and cancer detection.

At J A Kemp each new trainee is assigned a mentor to ensure they are properly supported. In house tutorials for new starters provide an great way to learn the basics and allow you to meet people from across the different groups. In addition to sending trainees on external courses, such as those run by Queen Mary and CIPA, the firm also provides further in house training in the run up to the European and UK exams. The aim is to achieve the highest possible exam pass rates.

The patent profession is friendly and sociable. At my firm, there are social events organised through the year, including summer and Christmas parties and a quiz night. People also regularly get together for a quick drink after work.

In summary, if you’re looking for a challenging and stimulating career that allows you to build on your technical knowledge without being confined to the lab, then you are likely to find the patent profession very rewarding.

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