Upon exploring a career as a patent attorney, I found the unique opportunity to use the knowledge and skills that I gained at university in a legal and commercial context interesting. I was also attracted to the profession because every patent attorney I spoke to genuinely enjoyed their role. I applied to several firms, speculatively and also in response to advertised vacancies, towards the end of my PhD and I then joined D Young & Co in 2017.
From day one, I was given responsibility and experience of real cases. The majority of my work concerns the prosecution of patent applications which typically involves responding to opinions from patent examiners explaining why they think that the invention is not patentable. This requires in-depth knowledge of the science underpinning the invention, alongside the ability to present technical information and complex legal arguments in a concise yet persuasive manner.
At D Young & Co, most of our training is on-the-job under the guidance of several partners and senior qualified attorneys. As a result, I have helped to represent diverse clients and have been exposed to a wide range of technologies (including medical devices and therapeutic antibodies) and different aspects of the patenting process (e.g. prosecution and oppositions). I am fortunate to have experience of drafting patent applications and opposition work (attacking/defending a granted patent) at an early stage in my training, which is not always the case. One of the best aspects of my role is definitely the variety of my day-to-day work!
The support from senior colleagues and fellow trainees is excellent – my colleagues are always happy to answer questions. The firm also provides all of the support needed to pass the qualifying exams, including study leave, in-house tutorials and external courses (e.g. the Certificate in IP Law at Queen Mary, University of London). The latter are great opportunities to meet trainees from other firms.
The importance of a good work/life balance is recognised at D Young & Co – my supervisors often check that I am comfortable with my workload. The environment at the firm is supportive and friendly, with many social events organised throughout the year, including charity runs and the Christmas party.
If you would like a job which is challenging and intellectually stimulating in a supportive environment, then I highly recommend a career as a patent attorney at D Young & Co.