• Name: Jenny Smith
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Leeds
  • University: Leeds
  • Degree: PhD Medical and Biological Engineering
  • Areas of Specialism: Engineering - Other

Like many attorneys, I wanted to get out of academia. I wanted a role that was varied and intellectually stimulating, yet structured. Becoming more and more specialised in one niche scientific area wasn’t for me.

I studied Microbiology before my PhD in Medical and Biological Engineering. I’d never done any engineering-type study before, but this ended up being my favourite aspect of my research. My work at UDL has enabled me to expand my engineering knowledge and I now work on a wide variety of mechanical engineering inventions including medical, construction and more domestic engineering fields – exactly the variety I was looking for.


Having spent the last eight years at university, the prospect of another four to five years of study didn’t put me off. However, I must say, these are the hardest exams I have ever taken!

At UDL I’ve been able to plan my own progression through the exams. I chose to take the exam-heavy Foundations route, as I felt it would give a better grounding for the Finals examinations. I’ve attended external revision courses, but the majority of my revision has been before and after work – you’ve got to be really organised and self-motivated to fit it all in!

I joined UDL in October 2015. So far, I’ve passed four out of five Foundation exams and my European Pre-examination. If I pass the next set of exams, I should be UK and European qualified by 2020.

What’s it like working at UDL?

UDL is a really great place to work. As a trainee I’ve been given plenty of responsibility right from the start, which I’ve really valued and learnt from. I often attend client meetings, including visiting one of our clients in Hamburg, which was a fantastic experience.

It’s the kind of work that you have to learn by practice – there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Being able to work with several partners and senior attorneys, means I’ve experienced a variety of different styles and personalities which is a great way of learning and has really helped me to develop my own style.

UDL is a very friendly, social firm – just the right balance for the work we do. We regularly celebrate birthdays and events with office treats and lunches out. We have two conferences each year where the whole firm gets together for team building and socialising. In addition to the legal side of my work, I have a role in our marketing and recruitment teams, which is great because it feels like I’m putting something back into the firm.

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