Pictured above are some of our recently recruited trainee attorneys.
We asked some of our trainee attorneys to sum up in a few words their experience of working at the firm so far. Here is what they had to say.
Tim Headley, Patent Attorney Trainee, Chemistry and Pharmaceuticals
"The work here is definitely challenging, but the support and training I received helped me to adapt to life as a patent attorney very quickly."
Carsten Reinhard, Patent Attorney Trainee, Biotechnology and Life Sciences
"One refreshing thing about a career as a patent attorney is that your day-to-day work is genuinely interesting. J A Kemp has many clients who are leaders in their fields. You get exposure to a broad spectrum of technologies."
Wilma Shi, Patent Attorney Trainee, Biotechnology and Life Sciences
"After completing an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, I stayed on to do a PhD in Pharmacology. At the time I knew that I wanted to remain in science, but I soon discovered that academic research was not for me. I began researching options and stumbled across a job advert for “Trainee Patent Attorney”, not knowing at the time what exactly the job involved. However, since my experience seemed to match the job requirements, I decided to look into it. To my delight, the job seemed like a perfect match! I was (and still am!) particularly fascinated by the job’s unique combination of science, law and business, and the opportunity to work on a broad range of technology areas. I sent out a few applications and was extremely fortunate to be offered a place at J A Kemp.
I joined J A Kemp’s Biotechnology and Life Sciences Group in October 2014. I remember working on real cases on my first day, which was daunting initially. However, it is amazing how much you can learn by just doing the job. Since then, I have been involved in prosecuting patent applications not only in the UK and Europe, but also worldwide. I have handled work for different clients, ranging from start-ups, SMEs and universities to multinational biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. The cases that I have worked on span a wide variety of different technology areas, such as antibodies and biologics, vaccines, plant sciences and medical devices, to name a few. There is always something new sitting on my desk that presents a different challenge, so I am pretty much guaranteed to never get bored! I also find it very exciting to follow the progress of a case that I have contributed to, knowing that everything I have done is making a real-world impact.
At J A Kemp, each trainee is assigned a mentor who oversees their professional and career development. A comprehensive in-house training programme is in place to equip each trainee with the necessary technical skills for carrying out their daily job, as well as to help them prepare for the professional exams. There is also a monthly club where the trainees take turns to discuss the latest developments in case law. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with the trainees in the other groups over a free lunch! As a trainee approaches the end of their first year, the firm sends them on the Queen Mary Certificate in Intellectual Property which provides a good grounding in the course for the fundamentals of IP law. It also exempts you from the UK foundation level qualifying exams. I will be attending in September 2015 and am really looking forward to it.
One thing that I particularly like about J A Kemp is the exceptionally positive and supportive working environment. I am encouraged to ask for help whenever I get stuck and everyone is always willing to give a helping hand and offer their advice. In addition, trainees at J A Kemp have the opportunity to work with several different partners, which I understand is not always the case at other firms. I believe that being exposed to different working styles has helped me develop my “creativity skills”. Undeniably, these skills have proved to be useful, especially when formulating arguments in response to the patent examiner’s objections!
Looking back at the past year, I feel very privileged to have entered this profession, and in particular, that I started my career with J A Kemp. If what you have learned and heard about the profession appeals to you, I urge you to start sending out applications. Good luck!"
For a different perspective, we asked a partner in our Chemistry and Pharmaceuticals Group, Ravi Srinivasan, to give us an overview of his experience and some insight into the profession. Here is what he had to say.
"When I was exploring career options in my final year at university,
I went to J A Kemp for an interview and was immediately 'sold' on the profession because of its unique mix of science, law and business skills. The interviewing partners tested my technical reasoning powers with some tough questions, but it was clear from the outset that they also wanted people with the drive and personal qualities to go on to win and retain clients for the firm.
What do I like most about the job? It’s difficult to know where to start!
The technical interest that I had in my degree subject when I first entered the profession is still there, but it has changed and developed over the years. I am now strongly focused on the commercial applications of science.
Overlaid onto the science is the massive and diverse field of patent law – worldwide! Being a large firm, we keep abreast of all significant developments in every country. Some of my most interesting work involves the contentious side of patent law, defending or opposing major pharmaceutical patent applications, often before the European Patent Office but sometimes elsewhere.
As a partner, I also have significant responsibility for developing the business of the firm. I really enjoy this aspect of the job. It starts with managing and building relationships with existing clients, but I also enjoy geographically focused business development. I visit India every year and also travel frequently to Germany, Spain and other European countries, as well as trying to fit in at least one trip to the USA each year.
In a firm such as J A Kemp, all partners have responsibility for mentoring attorneys. One of the most satisfying aspects of the role is to see a junior attorney progress and develop the intellectual and personal skills required to succeed. Sometimes it is when the ‘penny drops’ about an aspect of patent law or prosecution. On other occasions it is about client handling skills, learning to maintain a professional demeanour whilst showing a human side. Some of these skills can be taught, but it is often about bringing out an attorney’s personal qualities and building their confidence.
In summary, it is the variety of activities and skills that I enjoy in this job. The technology and the patent law are each intellectually challenging enough in themselves, but the job brings them together in a uniquely satisfying combination."
Find out more by visiting our opportunities page.