• Name: Lucy Sharples
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Nottingham
  • University: Sheffield
  • Degree: BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences and
    PhD in Neuroscience
  • Areas of Specialism: Biotechnology

Training at Potter Clarkson is challenging but very enjoyable. The combination of scientific and legal concepts makes the career extremely stimulating. Since joining the firm in 2020, I have not looked back!

Why this profession?

Becoming a patent attorney ties in very well with my overall career plans. Even before starting university, I was hesitating between studying a STEM subject and the law. I enjoy reviewing and analysing scientific results, all while helping clients achieve their ultimate goal of commercialising their inventions. Learning about IP law is very stimulating and offers a fresh change from the constraints of science.

Give a background of your qualifications and the training that you have completed

I got a BSc(Hons) in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Sheffield. I was thrilled to be offered a scholarship to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield with a two-year placement in Singapore. After that, I came back to Sheffield, and started a post-doc position in a similar field.

Potter Clarkson requires that its trainees complete the PEB foundation exams before enrolling onto the PEB final exams to become a UK chartered patent attorney. The firm offers internal tutorials led by talented and experienced colleagues, study-leave days, and pays for external revision courses for all exams.

The firm splits the five foundation exams into two years, so that the workload associated with revising is not unreasonable. I am currently in my second year, so will sit the last two foundation exams in October 2022.

Explain what your current role involves

I have been working on real cases from my first day in the job. So far, my work has included countless interactions with the UK and European patent offices, clients, drafting of new patent specifications, initiating patent grant procedures and everything in between.

The job is not always a nine to five. This depends on the time of year and the urgency of cases being worked on. It is a very deadline driven job, so hold on tight!

The people at Potter Clarkson have been very welcoming. Amongst trainees, we regularly meet up and plan socials. I have found this to be a great help with adjusting to life in a new town.

Future Plans

I plan to keep training and working at Potter Clarkson and become a dual qualified UK and European patent attorney.

Any advice

If you are thinking of making the move, reading the IP Careers website is already a good start.

Make sure to get some experience outside of academia, but stay within your area of expertise to develop your business acumen and commercial awareness. By doing so, you may meet patent attorneys or people who can put you in touch with patent attorneys.

Good luck!

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