I enjoyed my degree in Biochemistry enough that I was considering pursuing a career in academia. However, I realised towards the end of my PhD that lab work was not what I wanted to do long term. One thing I did know was that I wanted to continue to use my technical knowledge and analytical skills in my career, whilst doing a job which would keep me interested and engaged.
After doing some research, it appeared that a career as a patent attorney would satisfy all these requirements. I attended a couple of open days at IP firms, including Mewburn Ellis, which provided an introduction to the profession and a valuable opportunity to talk to people at all stages of their careers, from current trainees to partners. I ultimately applied to several firms and was offered a role as a trainee patent attorney by Mewburn Ellis.
From my first day, I was exposed to real cases and worked for real clients. This was challenging in a positive way and there was always someone available for advice. After managing my own work during my PhD, I enjoyed having this responsibility early on. Presently, my day-to-day work involves writing to clients about their cases, presenting arguments to patent examiners, and advising clients on their patent portfolios whilst answering any queries that they might have. I really enjoy interacting with our clients – the job is not only about analysing technical information (although I do this daily as well)!
Almost all trainees enter the profession without any law experience. This means that the first few years of work are accompanied by learning the law and professional exams. A real advantage of Mewburn Ellis is the high quality of the training provided. I attend regular in-house tutorials with the other trainees which cover the practical side of the job, the relevant law, and exam preparation. Trainees also attend the Certificate of Intellectual Property Law course in London, which exempts us from some of the professional exams and is a great way of meeting trainees from other firms.
Another benefit of the firm is that trainees move between our four offices (London, Bristol, Manchester and Cambridge) during the first few years. We sit with a partner for about six months before moving onto another who is often in a different office. This scheme is hugely beneficial for trainees as we are exposed to lots of different clients and a variety of work, and we also get the opportunity to live in several great cities. The scheme is also invaluable for fostering the friendly environment of Mewburn Ellis because everybody gets to know everyone else.
If you are interested in new technologies, learning about how things work, using language effectively while writing about complex technical ideas and using your analytical skills, then this job may well be for you. I encounter all these things almost every day which makes the job both interesting and satisfying, and even after the exams are over, you will never stop learning!