I was fascinated by chemistry and biology at school, and as someone who once thought they might train as a doctor, cellular and molecular medicine was a great blend of the two subjects. The course was unique in that it focused on innovative research areas, such as 3D bioprinting for the regeneration of natural tissues, and the translation and commercialisation of such research.
Having had exposure to the lab environment throughout the course of my degree, I quickly realised that lab work was not the career path for me. However, I was keen to remain exposed to the forefront of scientific developments, and after some thought and exploration, thought that working in IP law would be a great way to do this.
A background in the biological sciences has been particularly useful when attending and taking notes during calls with experts, such as virologists, neurologists, and DNA specialists. The discussions can often be fast-paced and complex, being familiar with subject-specific terminology is hugely helpful. It can almost start to feel like a game of bingo when you catch words and terms which you recall from your degree!
Our role is incredibly varied, and no two days are the same. The work can be split into two parts: trial- based work and other legal work. The former intensifies in the run up to trial and is dominated by bundle preparation and updates (both electronic and hardcopy) for the PG team and counsel. And then attending the trial to ensure that all aspects of it run as the should – both the documents and the people need to be in the right place at the right time! The more general legal work can involve assisting with foreign coordination, searching for experts, attending team meetings, and dealing with legal and scientific research tasks. When there are spare moments, there is always a lot of admin to keep on top of.
We work across a number of different matters, and there are periods when each one gets incredibly busy at the same time. It challenges you to prioritise tasks, balancing their importance and urgency, and to manage your time effectively in order to meet deadlines, which are often Court-ordered in litigation.
The majority of my work comes from cases and clients within the life science and pharmaceutical sectors, however, this has not stopped me from getting involved with and thoroughly enjoying the litigation of patents in alternative industries, such as that of sandpaper and heat-not-burn tobacco technology.
I will never forget the rounds of Hammerschlagen (the competitive hammering of nails into a wooden beam) that were played over the course of the PG 2023 Ski Trip to Sauze’Oulx, Italy. Turns out I’m surprisingly good at this game!
I would strongly advise gaining as much exposure to the IP field as possible. This may involve sitting in on a patent trial (these are public hearings) or attending IP open days and workshops. If you are in a position to work full-time, I would recommend exploring paralegal jobs in the IP field. This way, it allows you to learn the ropes from the bottom-up, whilst giving you an insight into the work of IP solicitors, before fully committing to the career.
Adobe Acrobat Pro. I struggle to imagine how I would survive in this job without it.
I plan to take advantage of my 2+ years of experience at PG, which, as part of the new SQE system, counts towards the process of qualifying as a solicitor. But, before I get ahead of myself, I still need to take my exams…
I used to compete as a platform and springboard diver, inspired by Tom Daley’s efforts in the London 2012 Olympics. I’m yet to find another sport which offers as much adrenaline as diving did, but for now, running between Court and our offices will have to suffice!