Appleyard Lees is one of the UK’s leading patent and trade mark attorneys with offices in Manchester, Leeds, Halifax and Cambridge.

We support some of the worlds most innovative businesses from a wide range of industries including chemical and pharmaceuticals, life sciences and biotechnology, electronics and software, engineering, and physics from all over the UK and overseas. We have an unrivalled reputation for quality and professionalism and are proud of our business.

Q – What training does Appleyard Lees provide?

A – For patents, most of the training is done ‘on the job’ by working with qualified attorneys on active cases. In addition to the on-the-job training, Appleyard Lees puts on tutorials for trainees who are taking specific exams. These tutorial sessions involve going through past paper questions with qualified attorneys who provide feedback. Trainees are encouraged to broaden their general IP knowledge base by attending CIPA/CIPA informal’s events, such as the foundation lectures. Appleyard Lees covers the costs associated with CIPA membership, examination fees, and the attendance of revision courses.

A – For Trade Marks the training is primarily ‘on the job’ and you learn by getting involved with cases right from the beginning. You get the opportunity to work with and learn from several different attorneys which is a great experience as it means that you get exposure to a wide variety of work. The firm also financially supports trainees through the two courses requested to become a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney (Queen Mary & Nottingham) as well as organising training sessions for trainees to develop their soft skills.

Q – How do patent trainees typically prepare for exams?

A – At Appleyard Lees, trainees take the UK foundation exams before sitting the UK final exams. Trainees prepare through a combination of revision courses, personal study, and tutorials as mentioned above. In addition, trainees taking foundations exams for the first time receive one day per month to take for revision, along with the day of the exam, and an additional study day for each exam being taken.

Q – What are the expectations for trainees relating to business development/bringing in their own clients?

A – Trainees are encouraged to attend relevant events and explore relationships with potential new clients. We have a fantastic marketing team who help to bring relevant events to our attention and help with making those connections.

Q – What does a typical first year for a Trainee Patent Attorney look like?

A – From day 1 you’ll be working on real cases for important clients. You’ll be working very closely with all the members of your team, and everything gets discussed before the final version goes to the client or patent office. As time goes by, you’ll build on your learning and grow in confidence. Appleyard Lees provides exposure to all aspects of work on a patent lifecycle, from drafting and filing to international prosecution in a wide range of countries, and even to opposition and appeal at the European Patent Office. You’ll also start thinking about the qualifying examinations – Appleyard Lees encourages each trainee to approach these at their own pace, which is a wonderful freedom to have when getting to grips with a new career!

Q – What does a typical year as a Trainee Trade Mark Attorney look like?

A – Throughout your first year, you will primarily assist the more senior members of the team with their caseload. The focus for trainees in their first year is getting to grips with how things work within the team and building a solid foundation in the basics of IP law and client care. Common tasks include things like:

  • Handling new client enquiries
  • Drafting trade mark/design applications
  • Drafting initial opposition advice
  • TM assignments
  • Conducting trade mark clearance searches
  • Liaising with foreign associates
  • Carrying out research on niche points of law

At Appleyard Lees, there are also opportunities to get involved with litigation which could include:

  • Drafting cease and desist letters
  • Gathering evidence
  • Liaising with barristers
  • Compiling bundles for hearings

Q – What opportunities are there for attending/travelling to events?

A – As a trainee at Appleyard Lees, you are given plenty of opportunities to attend events. Some of the best events our Trainees have attended have been directed towards funding opportunities for start-ups, where they have gained significant insights into the commercial impact of patents/trade marks and the real-life impact of our work. There are also plenty of social events for trainees to keep connected and expand their network.

Q – How can I stand out from other applications?

A – When first applying to any job it’s important to do your research. This shows that you have thought about the company and the role and know what you’re applying for. You can do this by reading blogs/watching videos/listening to podcasts from people in the role/industry you’re applying for, rather than just reading the job description.

Don’t just look at the company’s website, spend a few extra minutes and look at:

  • Who their clients are (do they mainly work with smaller companies/start-ups or larger organisations?)
  • The type of work the partner/team you’re applying to do (litigation, drafting, office actions, a mix)
  • Where the offices are based
  • Any major news i.e., awards, mergers etc.

LinkedIn can be a useful tool when researching a company. Try connecting with people you have met during the interview process or with other people at the company to see events/work they have been involved in. You could even reach out to a new trainee to ask how they have found working for the company or how their interview process was.

Finally, ask questions: How often do you visit other offices? What are your ED&I processes? Why did you choose to work for this company? What does an average day look like? And if you are invited to interview, talk to as many people as possible to try and see if the atmosphere and ethos of the firm are what you are looking for.

Q – What is your recruitment process?

A – Our recruitment procedure commences with the submission of your CV and cover letter for the relevant position. These documents are then reviewed and shortlisted by our Talent Acquisition team in conjunction with the pertinent hiring managers. Our interview process involves 2 stages, the first interview phase typically occurs virtually via Microsoft Teams, and it entails the participation of an HR representative and the Partner overseeing the hiring process. Occasionally, an additional partner or senior associate from the team might also be present. This initial interview is used to bring your CV to life and gain a deeper insight into your skill set, professional background, and aspirations within the field of Intellectual Property.

This stage also involves a technical assessment which is shared with candidates before the interview. The intention behind this assessment is not about achieving a perfect score; rather, it enables us to discern your communication style, gauge the extent of your expertise and helps us to identify specific areas where you might require further guidance and training.

The second stage of our recruitment process involves an opportunity for in-office work experience. This opportunity serves a dual purpose: it provides you with an authentic glimpse into the daily responsibilities associated with the role, and it allows you to ascertain if our firm’s culture, office environment, and management style align with your preferences and aspirations.

Upon successful completion of these stages, we move forward to the final phase, which is to offer the successful candidate. This comprehensive recruitment process is designed to ensure that not only are we selecting the most suitable candidate for the role, but also that you, as the candidate, can make an informed decision about joining our firm.

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