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  • Name: Sam Wreford
  • Job Title: Patent Advisor
  • Location: Derby
  • University: Durham
  • Degree: Theoretical Physics
  • Areas of Specialism: Technology
Swindell Pearson

Why Patents?

Working as a Trainee Patent Attorney appeals to me not least because it offers a challenging and unique blend of technology and law. As a trainee, the day-to-day involves working on prosecuting patent applications, where I apply the law to argue in favour of clients’ inventions before the patent office. When I gain more experience, the work will start to include drafting patent applications, where technical knowledge of cutting-edge inventions and legal knowledge are combined to create commercially valuable patents for clients.

Why Swindell & Pearson?

Swindell & Pearson is a great place to work because of, not despite, its small size. It is close-knit, where working with colleagues of all different experiences is encouraged. Trainees are given real responsibility early on, and are offered frequent one-to-one supervisions with some of the most experienced attorneys in the firm who mentor them through their career. The firm also appealed to me because of its old age – the firm has been a presence in the streets of Derby for over 140 years!

Learning directly from someone with so much experience in this way is invaluable and it allows trainees to quickly develop their skills. The close-knit nature of the firm also means that trainees have a large team of additional mentors to help support them throughout their career.

Training and Development

In my experience, S&P takes the development of its trainees seriously. From the very start, weekly training sessions are held with experienced members of the firm. These sessions are focussed on “on-the-job” practical applications rather than being dry and abstract lectures about the law. On top of these sessions, monthly talks and workshops are held which provide a deep dive into various areas of intellectual property. The support doesn’t stop there – for examinations, trainees are provided with paid study leave, up-to-date textbook materials, and the option to attend external courses. Furthermore, trainees are provided with a multi-week internal course on patent drafting hosted regularly. As you can see, there is hardly a lack of training and development opportunities at S&P!

Into the Future

I am now approaching the end of my second year at Swindell & Pearson. I have passed my first few exams on the route to qualification as a full patent attorney, and I am enjoying the job and the unique challenges it brings. I am looking forward to increasing independence and growth as I eventually fully qualify and begin to draft patent applications. I would highly recommend STEM graduates to consider this career!

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