• Great Britain
  • Germany
  • France
  • China
  • Souht Korea

William Grace

When I was applying for jobs, becoming a patent attorney sounded like the perfect mix of everything I wanted in a career. There’s a lot of skills needed in this role that really appeal to me. For example, you need an analytical mind and the ability to clearly communicate to different audiences (e.g. your supervising partner, patent offices, clients). You also get to stay in touch with your field, for example by meeting with inventors when drafting patent applications. I wanted a career with a clearly defined progression, which the process of dual qualifying as a UK and European Patent Attorney enables.

I first came across patent law at a careers fair, and proceeded to apply to a number of firms over the winter break. The application process for Venner Shipley was efficient and straightforward, with my interview taking place in February. The interviewers were friendly, fully engaged with what I had to say and quickly put me at ease – I knew as soon as I left that Venner Shipley was exactly the kind of workplace I was looking for.

What skills have you found to be particularly useful in this sector/profession?

  • Attention to detail
  • Time management
  • Commercial awareness
  • A flexible mind-set (never forget there’s not always a right answer!)

What is your daily/weekly schedule generally like?

Each day is usually nine to five, with an hour for lunch. Sometimes I stay a bit later if something needs to be finished promptly, but there is enough notice of deadlines that this can be mitigated by good time management!

I meet with my supervisor most days to discuss the cases I am working on, but the ‘open door’ nature of the firm means that this is rarely scheduled, rather whenever I need help with something or to review a piece of work that I have finished.

For the first few months we had bi-weekly ‘boot camp’ training sessions to get us up to speed on various aspects of patent law. By having these spread out over several months, rather than all in one go at the start, I felt better able to relate this training to my work, and got a lot out of it as a result.

We also have regular departmental meetings in larger groups, and sometimes have guest presentations, which trainees are welcome to attend. I look forward to these in particular, and went to talks from an EPO Examiner, US patent attorneys and an in-house IPR manager within my first six months at the firm.