• Role: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Career Sectors: Patents
  • Location: Cambridge
  • University: Cambridge
  • Degree: PhD Organic Chemistry

Rachel Challands

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What brought you to the patent profession?

As my PhD began drawing to a close, I knew I was ready for a change. Like many in the profession, I had realised academia was not the right choice for me. I have always been passionate about science and so I sought a career where I could utilise my chemistry and technical knowledge in a new and exciting way. Fortuitously, I came across the patent profession and was instantly hooked. The stimulating nature of the work, coupled with the challenges and opportunities to learn new skills it provided was exactly what I was looking for.

I had applied to a few different places so by the time I went for my interviews at Venner Shipley I had a good idea of what I wanted from a firm: exposure to a diverse range of work, a friendly and welcoming culture and a supportive training environment. Venner Shipley ticked all those boxes and so when I received my offer I accepted without hesitation.

Working and training at Venner Shipley

I have been working in the Chemistry and Life Sciences team at VS since September 2019. The focus is on-the-job-training and I have been fortunate enough to work directly with a variety of experienced partners. This in turns allows for a diverse platform of work for a range of clients from large multinational corporations to SME’s and local single inventors.

Like many trainees, I started the job with little to no knowledge about intellectual property law. Helpfully, in the first few months of joining, Venner Shipley offers a series of internal tutorials affectionately known as ‘boot camp’ (no physical exertion or gym wear required!) which are run by experienced senior associates and partners. These sessions are a great help in getting up to speed on some of the basic concepts of IP law and provide useful guidance for day-to-day work.

My route to qualification commences with the Certificate in IP Law course at Queen Mary University, which I will be starting in a few months.

What are the best bits of your job?

My favourite part of my job is the variety. The work is fast paced, interesting and diverse and I am constantly learning. Undeniably, the learning curve is steep; there is a whole new area of law to learn after all! However, there is constant support and encouragement from partners, senior associates and fellow trainees, which creates a great atmosphere to work in.

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