After graduating from the University of Exeter with a first class BSc in Physics, I joined Kilburn & Strode in October 2021 as a trainee attorney in the Tech team. I am currently working towards qualifying as a UK and European patent attorney.
Why did you choose a job in this sector/profession?
Pretty early on in my physics degree, I decided a life in the labs was not for me. I realised that my passion for science essentially comes from my love of figuring out how things work, and how theory can be used to create technologies that solve real-world problems. Whilst working for a science communication start-up alongside my degree, I also discovered the niche combination of explaining scientific concepts using words rather than maths, and really enjoyed it. I knew I wanted a job which would allow me to use technical knowledge from my degree, whilst focussing on communication as opposed to theory and experimentation. I then came across the patent law profession, which fit this perfectly. Patent attorneys work with industry-leading inventions at various stages of development, using their technical understanding and problem-solving mindset, but in a legal context rather than a lab.
What was the application process like – any advice?
Firstly I’d hugely recommend speaking to people already in the industry, perhaps new trainees a few years ahead of you or even more senior people who have been in the industry for years. I found this the best way to get a real idea of what the job is like, which was crucial to my decision to apply in the first place. Once you’ve decided to go for it, make sure to do your research about any firm you apply to – the company culture and values are so important, especially since you are in the unique situation of applying to essentially the same role at a variety of firms. Lastly, don’t be afraid to be yourself in interviews! In such a client-facing job, it is so important to be personable and confident.
What are your main duties/roles?
Most of my day-to-day work involves prosecuting patent applications before both the UK Intellectual Property Office and the European Patent Office. This includes responding to objections, finding ways that an invention is new over existing technology and liaising with clients to make sure we can protect what is important to them. I also work directly with inventors and in-house patent attorneys to draft new applications for clients, getting to grips with complex technical ideas and putting them into words. Kilburn & Strode has a great sociable culture, and so my days regularly also include events ranging from mini-golf in the office to a softball game in Hyde Park!