Why patent law?
Curiosity rather than a predetermined career path led me to study physics at university, and after four enlightening years learning scientific theories and their technical applications, I remained undecided on where my skillset would provide most value. In view of the academic exposure I had already acquired, I felt some industry experience might help me reach a decision. Two years of post-graduate work and travel enabled me to better understand my strengths and interests, and more narrowly define what I was looking for from a profession: intellectual stimulation, variety, the opportunity to expand my scientific knowledge and the opportunity to explore and develop a breadth of skills. Patent law, at the confluence of science, business and law, appeared to offer these aspects in abundance.
Why AA Thornton?
AA Thornton prides itself on the people it constitutes, and I can say with sincerity that this pride is justified. The entire team is supportive of one another’s professional development, generating an environment within which learning is readily nurtured. Trainees begin receiving a broad range of challenging work as soon as they join, and have the opportunity to work with a variety of senior attorneys and partners, all of which are approachable and wilfully provide advice when solicited. The work involves everything from drafting and prosecuting patent applications, opposing and defending the validity of granted patents, and conducting FTO searches, to providing training within the firm, writing articles on new technology and law updates, and attending and presenting at public events.
Any advice for someone wanting to train as a patent attorney?
If you are inquisitive, analytical and detail-orientated by nature, then training to qualify as a patent attorney may lead to a fulfilling career. When applying for trainee roles, I suggest to bear in mind that the path to qualifying entails an intensive training process, and therefore it is worth evaluating your choice of prospective firms on their ability to cultivate a supportive environment conducive to learning. The first few years of training are formative, and the firm you choose may help determine the rate at which you pass your exams and ultimately your value as a patent attorney, not to mention how pleasant the journey will be along the way; so choose a firm that fits you.