Before my final year of university, I had not considered the possibility of transitioning from an education in engineering to a career in law. I came across the patent law profession at a careers fair, where I was drawn to the idea of working in an industry focused on technological innovations. This prompted me to research the discipline further, and ultimately to send out some applications.
I am now four years into my career at J A Kemp in the Engineering & IT group, and qualified as a European patent attorney. Having started with no prior experience in law, getting to grips with the legal concepts that are central to the profession during my training was a challenge. But the support provided by the firm, as well as the cohort of fellow trainees going through the same process, made it an enjoyable experience.
Day-to-day training is done primarily through working on real cases. Each case is led by a partner at the firm, who provides guidance on how best to address each particular issue that arises. This is a collaborative process, and the partners are always keen to pass on their knowledge. Case work is supplemented by in-house tutorials, and regular meetings at which legal concepts or significant cases are presented and discussed.
As a large and well-known firm, J A Kemp has diverse clients from all over the world, ranging from huge manufacturers to small, innovative start-ups. Working with inventions falling under the broad catchment of “Engineering & IT”, I frequently find myself learning about technologies that are entirely new to me. Individual bits of case work often have a quick turnaround, meaning that one day I could be working with a hydrogen fuel cell, the next a weaving loom and the next a heart valve implant.
Outside of work and training, there is a great social atmosphere. Firm-organised events are frequent, and there are always people up for a pub trip towards the end of the week. There is no expectation to work long hours, so I never find myself having to miss out on these events or having to sacrifice other aspects of life due to work.
My time so far at J A Kemp has been stimulating and rewarding. I would recommend this career and firm to anyone with an interest in technology and a desire to work with it from a commercial angle.