Like many who end up in the profession, when writing up my thesis I realised that I enjoy talking and writing about chemistry more than actually doing the chemistry myself. I also wanted to broaden my horizons from the very focused nature of a PhD. Keen to live in a city and pursue a science-based career; training as a patent attorney was therefore, in my opinion, the most attractive path. This career choice was fortified for me after attending interviews and speaking to those already within the profession.
Why choose Dehns?
When Dehns offered me a position, I accepted it straight away as I knew it was important to work within a large firm which would offer good training support. The firm is an established Top Tier firm with an excellent reputation, and from my interviews it became clear that they offer a very hands-on environment, in which I was going to be given the opportunity to work with a variety of clients and technologies.
What skills are useful in this profession?
As a very large proportion of our work consists of drafting detailed letters to patent offices, to foreign agents worldwide, and to clients, I would say that a crucially important skill is the ability to write well and cohesively. It is also important to be meticulous: you must be ready to delve into the depths of a document to find that one ‘killer’ sentence.
What’s it like working for Dehns?
By working for different people (a mixture of partners and associates), you get used to working in different ways and you are exposed to different technologies from day one. I believe that by working for a variety of people, I have been able to formulate my own working style; and with multiple deadlines, I must also ensure that I manage my time effectively. My workload is very varied: I am currently working on cases concerning polyolefins, radiopharmaceuticals, vitamins, diagnostic assay methods, and graphene, to name a few. The training process at Dehns is very much ‘learn by doing’, and I have really enjoyed being exposed to different aspects of drafting, prosecution (i.e. aiming to get a patent granted), and opposition (when third parties attack a granted patent).
The atmosphere at Dehns is relaxed, and I have a very sensible work/life balance which enables me to fit in various hobbies around work. The firm organises two annual events at Christmas and in the summer. You also have the opportunity to test your skills at darts, snooker, softball, and football in various low-standard competitions both internally and against other patent firms.