After completing my PhD, I was interested in pursuing a career which was intellectually stimulating, allowed me to use my scientific knowledge, offered the potential to develop my skill set and represented a new challenge. The role of a patent attorney seemed to tick all the boxes! I had some exposure to the patent profession in the pharmaceutical sector and I was interested in the interaction between cutting-edge science and law.
As a trainee patent attorney, my job doesn’t change so much as evolve – I am gradually introduced to new aspects of the role through on-the-job training as appropriate bits of work come up. As a trainee at J A Kemp, you have a mentor who oversees most of your work. Your mentor is mainly responsible for your development, though other people are always happy to help. The firm also provides a full programme of in-house tutorials covering all of the fundamentals of patent law. These are not just informative, but also an opportunity for trainees from across the firm to interact. We also have monthly discussions between all of the trainees on legal decisions and how they impact our work.
Aspects of the job
A patent attorney acts as an intermediary between clients and patent examiners. This involves explaining an invention and its advantages to an examiner or explaining the examiner’s objections to a client and advising on ways to overcome these objections. You get to read about inventions from all sorts of technological areas, keeping your knowledge base at the cutting-edge of science without having to work in research.
You also meet with inventors and get involved in drafting patent applications. It can be fascinating to see at first-hand how an invention is being put to use in practice.
The social side
J A Kemp organises and supports various activities such as sponsored runs, sports matches, quiz nights, summer barbecues and Christmas parties. They are most enjoyable and a good way to socialise with other members of the firm. The CIPA Informals committee is also very active in organising social events to bring together people from different firms.
One of the great benefits of my job is that I’m able to strike a good work/life balance. J A Kemp operates a flexible hours system based around a core period from 10.00 and 16.30. The total hours you are expected to put in are certainly better than the hours some of my friends in the City are doing. It means you actually have time outside the office for a social life! I think I made a good decision to enter into this profession and I would certainly recommend it to someone who wants to be involved with science without being confined to the lab.View J A Kemp's Website