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  • Role: Associate
  • Career Sectors: Patents
  • Location: London
  • University: Cambridge
  • Degree: BA (Hons) Natural Sciences

Thomas Leonard

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Like many scientists that become patent attorneys, the original appeal came from being able to continue to learn about my degree subject without having to go near a laboratory. I have been in the profession for a few years and now have no regrets about choosing either the career or Kilburn & Strode.

We are a leading firm with a great reputation, a central London location and an esteemed history. But aside from that, it is also a great place to work.

Starting as a brand new trainee can be daunting, but the firm could not have been more welcoming. Everyone is willing to help and answer any questions you may have, both from trainees and from other qualified attorneys, since the firm recognises that even once you are qualified your professional development and education continue.

There is an extensive collection of qualified attorneys that are involved in the training and education for the exams, both within the firm and outside. They encourage trainees to get involved with the CIPA exam tutorials, and additionally provide a significant number of lecturers to externally organised revision courses, including the Queen Mary Certificate – just one of the reasons we have an excellent reputation not only within the profession, but also amongst trainees from all firms. I passed all my exams first time around, something I know was made possible by the assistance provided to me by my colleagues.

Whilst there is a very strong work ethic, there is also a relaxed atmosphere here that seems to me to be unrivalled in the profession. The patent attorney world is a small one and there are plenty of opportunities to socialise with members from different firms. From talking to others, I can genuinely say that Kilburn & Strode seems to be one of the best places to work.

The firm operates a flexitime system (almost unheard of in the profession) and has generous holiday entitlement. Prior to qualification, all work is supervised by your line manager, but as a trainee I was in contact with a client by my third day (in other firms clients may not even know you exist until you are qualified), a testament to the trust the firm puts in you. I was also attending client meetings very early on, and this client exposure makes the job both more interesting and rewarding. There are plenty of opportunities to work in a wide range of technical fields for varied clients – from individual inventors to large multinational firms.

Trainees (and associates) are also assisted in their career progression by an appraisal scheme in which targets for the year are discussed and agreed between the trainee and the partner. Trainees are encouraged to attend various networking and social events to develop relationships with potential clients. In addition, the partners also provide guidance on steps that can be taken to assist in progression from associate to partner.

I would honestly and whole-heartedly recommend Kilburn & Strode to anyone that is considering joining the profession.

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