• Name: Helen Springbett
  • Job Title: Technical Assistant
  • Location: London
  • University: Cambridge
  • Degree: Materials Science MSci and PhD
  • Areas of Specialism: Technology

As I finished my PhD, I decided that while I did not wish to pursue a career in academia, I wanted to put my scientific training to good use. I have always enjoyed writing and developing arguments, so patent law seemed a perfect combination of what I was looking for in a career.

The core of the profession is really to encourage and reward innovation – this was a large attraction to me as it means we keep up to date on the very latest developments in technology throughout our careers. I also appreciate the opportunity to work on a wide range of technologies, some of which are related to the area of my PhD while the majority are not. At Mathys, I am lucky to work with clients spanning from an individual who made an invention during a school project, to household names handling large patent portfolios! The variety of the work means am I constantly being challenged and intellectually stimulated.

Starting a new career and facing professional exams is a daunting prospect, but we receive a great deal of training and support throughout the process. Your training starts on the job straight away, and everyone is always happy to take the time to train you and answer your questions. In my first week I was working on a potential litigation case! After about a year of learning on the job, I took the Certificate in Intellectually Property Law at Queen Mary last Autumn. This provided a more formal introduction to the academic aspects of Intellectual Property Law, and was a great opportunity to meet other trainees across the profession. I am now preparing for the UK qualification exams through in-house tutorials run by Associates and Partners at the firm, and the next steps will be the European pre-examination and European qualifying exams.

We are a relatively large firm and have a large cohort of trainees, which means we can learn together and support each other through the training. This is a reflection of the firm in general – it is ultimately the people who make Mathys a great place to work. There is an active social calendar including casual pub trips after work on a Friday, bake sales, doughnut Fridays, games night and more formal Summer and Christmas parties. Post-work drinks up the Shard are a particular highlight!

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