• Name: Benita Mackay
  • Job Title: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: Midlands Office
  • University: Southampton
  • Degree: PhD, Masters of Physics
  • Career Sectors: Patents
  • Areas Of Specialism: Physics

I studied Physics at the University of Southampton and was then a Postgraduate Researcher at the Optoelectronics Research Centre, where I researched AI applications to tissue engineering.

I initially encountered the world of intellectual property during my first year at university when a local patent attorney gave a career talk with free pizza. What initially caught my attention was that a career in IP meant working with new inventions every day in a variety of fields, each pushing the boundaries of innovation. Honestly, I went for the pizza more than the talk, but that evening introduced me to my dream career, and I never looked back!

Choosing Withers & Rogers

What really stood out during my interview at Withers & Rogers was that the interviewers were interested in who I was as a person, and how well I could pick up new concepts, not only my technical knowledge. Everyone I met was open and helpful in answering my questions about the firm. I still remember the phone call from HR offering me the position, and several of my interviewers reached out on LinkedIn to congratulate me. I felt valued and excited to get started!

My advice for those applying to Withers & Rogers is to be yourself and try not to be too nervous. The more relaxed you are, the more fun you will have meeting everyone.

My first year at Withers & Rogers

From day one, I have been able to apply my expertise from my research experience. I receive training from attorneys across the firm, although I am predominantly trained by three partners who lead the Midlands Electronics Computing & Physics team. This provides a variety of work, clients, and writing-styles, and means I gain experience in a wide range of fields, from prosecuting software-implemented innovations to geoengineering litigation. Withers & Rogers believe that the best way to learn is by doing, so trainees are quickly introduced to case work with continual oversight and feedback allowing us to learn and improve on the job. While there is a lot to learn, my current skillset is respected, and it’s fun to get stuck in!

Soon I will be approaching my first set of exams. We were given the choice of exams or a university course so we can decide what works best for us. Either approach, I know the firm and my team will support me throughout.

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