• Name: Madeleine Partridge
  • Job Title: Technical Assistant
  • Location: Birmingham
  • University: York
  • Degree: MChem Chemistry with a Year in Industry
  • Areas of Specialism: Chemistry

Career path to date

As part of my Chemistry degree, I completed a year in industry at an oil additive company where I subsequently stayed for five years as an R&D Chemist. As part of my role there I enjoyed working with the in-house patent attorneys. On looking into the profession further, I was very interested in legal and chemical aspect of the role as well as the intellectual challenge and structured career path. I was drawn more to private practice than in-house because I enjoy learning about a range of research applications, and I liked the idea of a firm with a broad client base.

I joined Wilson Gunn in February 2022. My experience of the firm is that everyone is friendly and approachable. There are a few trainees at various points in their training at the firm so there is a good support network. I quickly started working on client cases in a range of areas including chemistry, biochemistry and mechanical applications so the workload is varied, and I learn new things every day. Almost all of the work is for direct UK clients, and I have already drafted patent applications for technologies as diverse as hydrophobic coatings and energy cells, and worked for clients ranging from multi-national corporations to SMEs. The learning curve is quite steep, but each trainee works closely with a partner and the firm has a lot of training experience with a number of the partners being tutors for external as well as internal training courses.

What was the application process like?

I applied to Wilson Gunn in response to an advertisement on their website. After sending my CV and cover letter, I had to complete a short, written piece which was followed by a face-to-face interview with two partners in the Manchester office. The interview consisted of a discussion about my career to date and why I wanted to move into the patent industry, a number of technical questions and a discussion about a piece of equipment and how it worked. The partners immediately came across as knowledgeable and welcoming and the interview was a pleasant experience, and I was very pleased to be offered a position afterwards.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to enter the profession?

I would recommend looking into firms as much as you can and, if possible, attending open days. Each firm is different. I applied to a number of firms across the country and attended a few assessment days and interviews before I realised how much the size of the firm, the employee dynamic and the type of clients can vary and impact your day-to-day job.

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