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  • Role: Technical Assistant
  • Career Sectors: Patents
  • Location: Leeds
  • University: Oxford
  • Degree: MChem Chemistry

Philippa Makepeace

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What made you decide to become a Patent Attorney?
I was attracted to the profession as it enables me to engage with science and technology on a daily basis, whilst continuing to utilise and develop both analytical and literary skills. The job inherently encourages the discussion of new developments in varying fields of science and technology and permits regular interaction with inventors, themselves often leading experts in their fields. Tasks such as drafting and amending bring a new challenge, requiring an understanding of the use and interpretation of language when making strong, well-reasoned arguments. In this profession, every day is different and the job is challenging, but highly stimulating and rewarding.

How did you get your job at Appleyard Lees?
I sent my CV and a covering letter to a number of firms at the beginning of my final year at university. Although Appleyard Lees had no positions for Trainee Patent Attorneys available at that time, they contacted me a few months later when such an opportunity presented itself. I attended a short interview at the Leeds office, was then invited back to partake in two days of assessment and was lucky enough to be offered the position.

What is it like working at Appleyard Lees?
Appleyard Lees is a fantastic place to work. From early on, I felt welcomed and included. Patent work can be solitary at times, but the friendly atmosphere and support from colleagues makes you forget this. In terms of training, I feel very secure in the knowledge that I can approach any of my fellow trainees or superiors and they will find the time to help and assist me. I have been working at Appleyard Leeds for almost a year now and am just about to sit my foundation level exams for UK qualification. This requires a good deal of revision outside of work hours, but I am supported by the firm in terms of both practical tutorials and also advice and encouragement.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to work in the profession?
My main piece of advice would be to get some work experience if at all possible. I emailed some firms requesting to shadow an Attorney during a summer holiday from university and was lucky enough to acquire a week of work experience with a solicitor who was also a qualified Patent Attorney. This experience was invaluable, providing both a good introduction to the world of Intellectual Property and standing me in good stead for my subsequent interviews and the start of my career.

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