• Name: Philip Reid
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: London
  • University: Warwick
  • Degree: MPhys Physics
  • Areas of Specialism: Physics

Why did you choose a job within patent law?

As I approached the end of my Physics degree, I knew that I wanted a career which would use my specific skills and knowledge gained over the course of my studies, without wishing to remain in academia. Working as a trainee patent attorney allows me to make use of my physics background and maintain an awareness of recent technological developments, while introducing me to whole new fields, in law and business. This mixture of fields really drew me towards the profession.

How did you get your job at Venner Shipley?

Once I’d realised that this was the ideal career for me, I set about applying to multiple firms over the course of my final year at university. I’d definitely recommend actively researching which firms are out there, and not just waiting for job vacancies to be advertised before deciding where to apply; I speculatively sent my CV and a cover letter to Venner Shipley before there was a vacancy open, but my details were kept on file and used when a job came up. There’s no harm in making your name known early!

I had two interviews with Venner Shipley, two weeks apart. My interviewers were very friendly and it was a relaxed experience, feeling a lot more like a natural conversation than a rigid interview. Immediately upon starting, I realised that this relaxed and friendly nature is reflected throughout the whole firm.

What does your role involve?

My day-to-day tasks primarily involve patent prosecution work; reading through an application and coming up with changes or arguments to try to get a patent granted. This involves a lot of detailed reading to find features which distinguish one document from another. The work is very independent, which suits my style of working, though my supervisor is on hand to provide regular help and advice when needed.

On-the-job learning is a crucial part of life as a trainee, and case work is supplemented by internal “boot camp” lectures about the legal processes of acquiring a patent.
On top of this, my role has occasionally involved contributing to marketing material or researching legal policies in various countries to inform clients.

I am also soon to attend Queen Mary University of London to study for a certificate in intellectual property law, the first step towards formal qualification!

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