I enjoyed my time studying physics at University, but knew that a life in academia or research was not for me. I was much more interested in real world applications of physics, and I didn’t want to be constrained to a narrow area of research. In my penultimate year, I discovered the IP profession, and that a career as a patent attorney offered the chance to be involved in cutting-edge technology relating to a huge breadth of subject matter.
I started working in Haseltine Lake’s Electronics team in 2015. During the first few months, I attended the “HL Academy”, an in-house training program set up to support new trainees. The academy was extremely helpful in giving me an overview of various aspects of the job, which gave better context to the work I was doing day to day.
A few years on, I really enjoy the challenge of analysing technical information and converting a complex situation into straight forward business-focused advice. I have also been surprised about how much I have enjoyed the people side of the job. Building friendly business relationships which require a high level of trust is very rewarding. I have been fortunate enough to go on a secondment to one of our clients in Edinburgh, where I worked closely with inventors on the technology they were developing at the time. This gave me the opportunity to develop good working relationships with the inventors and IP managers, as well as to better understand how IP is used in a commercial setting.
IP work is varied, interesting and rewarding. However, the UK and European qualifying exams are very difficult and require a huge commitment in terms of personal study in your free time. Nonetheless, once the exams are out of the way you have a skill set which is in demand with growing IP work, driven by the need in all companies for constant reinvention and innovation.
Haseltine Lake is very supportive in the lead up to exams, and provide in-house tutorials alongside external preparatory courses. There is a lot of opportunity for progression within the firm, as well as an emphasis on allowing attorneys to find the right work-life balance for their particular circumstance, which is very encouraging for people coming up through the firm.
While the career path of a patent attorney is challenging, working as a patent attorney can be an enormously rewarding career.