• Role: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Career Sectors: Patents
  • Location: London
  • University: UCL
  • Degree: PhD in Machine Learning for Medical Imaging

Ioana Hill

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Why I chose to become a patent attorney
My lifelong passion for computer science and mathematics drove me to complete a PhD in Machine Learning for Medical Imaging. It was during these years that I developed an in-depth understanding of topics such as machine learning, computational modelling and brain imaging. One of the most valuable lessons I learned, however, was how much I enjoy operating at the nexus between different fields of science. It was this realisation that made the patent attorney profession so appealing to me. The opportunity to take the depth of scientific knowledge gained from academia and apply it in a client-facing commercial setting was a hugely exciting prospect.

I came across my first patent whilst working at a FinTech start-up as a machine learning researcher. I was immediately hooked. Having researched more into the profession, it became clear to me that it manages to strike the right balance between indulging in your scientific curiosity and using that curiosity to create commercial opportunities for your firm and your clients. Ultimately, helping clients turn their ideas into patentable inventions and working at the cutting edge of scientific innovation was very appealing, and it has been an immensely enjoyable experience so far.

Why I chose to join Kilburn & Strode
My decision to join Kilburn & Strode was driven by two main factors; the interview experience and the size of their yearly trainee intake. What particularly stood out about the interview experience at Kilburn & Strode was how genuinely interested they were in me as a person and not just as a potential employee. What also surprised me was how enjoyable the interviews themselves were, touching on a wide variety of topics, from the mathematics behind a neural network to opera. The size of the trainee intake was also a big plus. Being part of a larger cohort of trainees was particularly important to me, especially when you consider that the life of an academic is a somewhat solitary affair!

What’s it like working at Kilburn & Strode
It can be however you would like it to be. Besides the more standard aspects of being a patent attorney, the firm is very open to you developing in whatever direction most interests you, from business development to running a book club. Personally, I am still very interested in machine learning, so I dedicate a few hours every week to stay up to date with the most recent publications in the field. I believe that this makes everyone valuable in a unique way, and ultimately translates into a culture of diversity and technical expertise.

Regarding training, I have been encouraged from the start to get involved with all aspects of the business. This has helped me gain a strong understanding of the profession early on in my career. What has really impressed me, however, has been the opportunity to work with several senior patent attorneys on important client projects from my first week at the firm. This level of exposure so early on has been invaluable for my training and demonstrates the level of trust and belief that Kilburn & Strode has in its trainees.

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