Charlotte has a BSc (Hons) in Biology from Kingston University, as well as an MSc in Management of Intellectual Property and a Postgraduate Certificate in Intellectual Property from Queen Mary, University of London.
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute studying for my first degree in biology; the course was hard work and required me to dedicate a lot of my time to it, but the work always felt worthwhile. However, although I greatly enjoyed my degree I could not see myself in any of the standard science career paths, such as working in a laboratory. On the basis of discussions with friends and family I entertained the idea of a career in intellectual property. With a science background life as a patent attorney seemed suitable. However, once I embarked upon the MSc in Management of Intellectual Property I realised that I preferred trade mark law.
Trade mark jobs are sometimes advertised on the ITMA and CIPA websites but I also sent speculative letters to firms of trade mark attorneys. I was taken on by a small firm of specialist attorneys in central London and remained there for nearly three years. In 2007 I moved to Boult Wade Tennant, one of the leading UK firms of chartered and European patent attorneys and registered and European trade mark attorneys, having seen an advertisement on the ITMA website.
Although I do not use science in my day-to-day work, there are many useful and transferable skills from my first degree and I was able to discuss these during the interview. My research skills, along with the ability to write detailed reports and a good attention to detail, are of the utmost importance.
My role is varied, which keeps life interesting. The majority of communication is by email so the day’s first task normally involves looking through all the correspondence that has arrived over night. Deadlines are important in this role and must be adhered to so time management is important and priority must be given to work with a close deadline.
I might need to conduct a clearance search that could take an hour or two or more, or file a trade mark application or negotiate with a third party. Or I might need to draft documents for filing at the Registry or provide a client with a quote for a piece of work. The day is dictated by the upcoming deadlines and the work that needs to be done. No two days are the same.
I love the contact with clients and the variety of work. It is a challenging but rewarding job. We all work as part of a team and it is a great feeling to be part of something so productive and worthwhile.
The legal sector is very sociable and interactive. You get to meet your peers frequently, which helps if they are acting for the other side and you need to negotiate.
Intellectual property is a popular sector, so make sure you do your homework before applying to a firm. If at first you do not get a job try again as a rejection does not necessarily mean you are not suitable. Make sure your enthusiasm shines through at interview along with your ability to pay attention to detail.
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