Before joining Kilburn & Strode LLP in 2013, I was a lead engineer for a tier 1 telecommunications company. During that time, through exposure to various IP issues, I became interested in protecting innovation and the commercial motivations behind it. As I explored this interest further, and discussed the matter with friends in the profession, I realised that a career as a patent attorney offered a way of combining this interest together with my passion for technology, so I decided to switch.
For me choosing the right firm came down to three key factors: opportunities for personal development; working environment; and people. At the time, Kilburn & Strode appeared to tick all three boxes, and I am happy to say that two years since joining, they definitely do.
The approach at Kilburn & Strode is to involve trainees with real cases from day one. From very early on you have significant responsibility and full exposure to all levels of prosecution and client care, including involvement in face-to-face meetings. In my experience, you will be encouraged to develop your skills towards taking ownership of cases, and participate in business development – these are important aspects of the job but, speaking to other trainees, are often deferred by many other firms. Some of my most interesting assignments to date include participation in a know-how and technology licensing review for a leading tobacco company, and proposals to capture a major Japanese client.
The working environment is intellectually stimulating and challenging, but support is always at hand and Kilburn & Strode have a great culture of coaching. Indeed, many of the attorneys are lecturers on external courses (such as the Queen Mary Certificate course) and are actively involved with training and education programmes in the profession. Often you will have to deliver to a high standard on a tight timescale and manage your workload appropriately based on many different priorities. This means that time management is as important as technical ability. Soft skills are also essential as you will work closely alongside clients and it is important to be able to build good working relationships.
I’ve found the people here to be very welcoming, smart, and fun. The firm places a lot of value on extracurricular activities and offers good networking opportunities. For example, if you’re a musician, you could help our firm band battle it out in the ‘Law Rocks’ competition. In addition, you could represent the firm at various innovation seminars – this is something that I particularly enjoy. In short, you will be given plenty of opportunities to attend various networking and social events to develop relationships with potential clients.
Two years into the profession, I have obtained the Postgraduate Certificate in IP Law from Queen Mary, University of London. During this time I have made some great friends, been involved with some great new technologies, and learnt a huge amount of IP law. However, there is still plenty more to learn and I now have to put the work into passing the final UK and European qualifying exams. This will be challenging but I know I will have fantastic support from my firm.View Kilburn & Strode LLP's Website