• Name: Bethan Halliwell
  • Job Title: Junior Associate
  • Location: London
  • University: Warwick
  • Degree: MPhys Physics
  • Areas of Specialism: Physics

Like many students approaching their final year at university, I found myself beginning to wonder what exactly I was going to do with myself upon graduation. I had managed to cross a few things off the list of potential careers, such as research, teaching or anything related to finance, but was yet to find something that really caught my interest. Then I discovered the patent profession. A career that promised an entirely new challenge, requiring a new set of skills and knowledge, but that enabled me to carry on working in the field of science.

I started at Withers and Rogers in September 2012, working in the Electronics, Computing and Physics practice group. The group itself works for a variety of clients, ranging from universities, to small and large corporations, to sole inventors. Each client works in a different field of technology requiring different expertise and knowledge, so I often find myself working on a number of different inventions each week, or even each day. So far, I have worked on patent applications for medical devices, sports equipment, computer software, fibre optic devices, and the list goes on. Trying to understand so many different technologies can be quite demanding, but it is just as interesting and also rewarding when you finally figure it out.

Every case is different and brings with it a different set of challenges which means the type of work I am faced with, as well as the type of technology, changes frequently. This is particularly important when the bulk of your training is experience based. I work primarily for one person, but invariably do work for other people within my practice group. This exposes me to different approaches to the work, and whilst this also has its challenges, it is another important aspect of the training since patent work can be just as much about creativity as it is about technical ability.

At Withers and Rogers, one person is primarily responsible for guiding me towards qualification and monitoring my training. However, support can be found from the whole company, whether that be attending in-house tutorials in preparation for exams or simply seeking the advice of another attorney, help is always at hand. This level of support is attested by the high success rate of the trainees and the quality of the attorneys that the company produces.

Overall, the company is friendly and sociable, which is definitely an important factor for an effective and enjoyable working environment. There are frequent social events organised through out the year, including Christmas and summer parties, which gives you a chance to get to know the staff, not just in your own office but also throughout the company.

So if you can picture yourself in a career where the work is diverse, stimulating and will keep you on your toes, then I would recommend giving the patent profession a go.

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