Tim Gilbert is a Trainee Patent Adviser at Swindell & Pearson Ltd after studying for both an MEng and PhD in Civil Engineering.
I can still remember the mixture of excitement and trepidation which I felt on the morning of my interview at Swindell & Pearson. I knew that it would be a great place to work and train: Swindell & Pearson is a mid-sized firm with clients ranging from very small businesses to multinationals, so I knew that I would have opportunities to work on a diverse range of cases and benefit from the support and expertise of a close-knit team. I was initially concerned that the interviewers might be unfamiliar with my qualifications, but I realised early in the process that this worry was misplaced: the recruiting team are experts in figuring out whether you know enough and think in the right way to do the job.
The interviewers were my prospective supervisors, including the team’s most experienced and senior patent attorney. They made a real effort to get to know me and supported me to do my best. They didn’t just want me to show strong attorney skills – they also wanted to see that I was a reflective, enthusiastic and respectful person who could argue a point of view effectively and respond appropriately to all kinds of feedback. I am very glad that Swindell & Pearson requires all of those qualities from its staff – it’s why we have such a supportive, collegiate working culture where everybody understands what is expected of them.
In the time I have been at Swindell & Pearson, I have often thought about how fortunate I am to be training here. My supervisors are highly skilled, senior patent attorneys who invest a huge amount in my training. I have daily one-to-one consultations with one or both of them to discuss my professional development as well as my cases, and I receive weekly tutorials from the most senior member of the team, as well as specific exam preparation courses. I regularly represent the business as part of my direct contact with existing and prospective clients, and get to run my own ‘direct client’ cases from start to finish rather than just completing piecework for senior colleagues. Most importantly, I have always been treated as a full member of the team, not just a trainee. This helps me to push myself and focus on furthering the interests of the firm, and I am already developing clear ideas about how I can contribute more to Swindell & Pearson in the years to come.
I also have been pleasantly surprised by how active and sociable Derby’s professional networking groups are. The trainees at Swindell & Pearson regularly attend CIPA, Young Professionals and Law Society meet-ups, which are great opportunities to meet new friends and make valuable contacts.