I am a patent attorney and a Partner in Venner Shipley’s Electronics department. I joined the firm as a trainee in late 2005, qualified as a Chartered and European patent attorney in 2009/2010 and was made a Senior Associate in 2013 and became a Partner in 2016.
My time is split between doing professional work, providing client support, mentoring junior associates and investigating opportunities for the future of the firm.
My professional work generally relates to patents for software or engineering solutions. I work across quite a wide variety of sectors, with both large and small clients. The electronics department at Venner Shipley is one of the biggest in the UK and so there are lots of opportunities to work with different types of client and on different types of work.
As a Partner I act as the principal point of contact for several of our clients, and this is a role I have been doing since I was a Senior Associate . I regularly provide client support that goes beyond strictly fee-earning tasks. I find this rewarding because of the deep level of understanding that I am able to build up with the engineers and IP managers in the businesses that we are supporting. It means that I can be confident in giving advice that fits with the clients’ commercial interests.
Mentoring and management
Another important part of my job is to train and mentor more junior associates in the firm, particularly those that have not yet taken their qualifying exams, and to manage administration staff. I lead a small team consisting of a trainee patent attorney, who is approaching finals level, and a dedicated patent administrator. I also help to supervise and mentor other trainees when their primary supervisor is away on business or holiday.
Senior associates at Venner Shipley are encouraged to spend time doing business development in areas that they find interesting. The firm is generally open-minded about how each attorney approaches this. There is certainly scope for attorneys at all levels to shape their own path and do the types of professional work that are of most interest to them individually and this helps develop your practice as you follow a career path to become a partner. The spirit of the partnership is quite entrepreneurial and so, if you want to put forward an idea or grow your professional work in a particular direction, the partners are likely to be supportive.