• Role: Technical Assistant
  • Location: London
  • University: Durham
  • Degree: Chemistry (MChem and PhD)

Bethany Harriss

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During my PhD, I realised that remaining in academia was not for me. Whilst I enjoyed learning about new chemistry and solving the problems that I encountered, I wanted a career outside of the lab that would allow me to work on a broader range of projects. Patent law was not something that I had initially considered, but after talking to numerous firms at careers fairs I discovered that it was exactly what I was looking for.

I have been working at Mathys & Squire for just under a year now and I do not regret my decision in the slightest! The focus so far has been to learn on-the-job and from day one I have been encouraged to tackle anything that comes my way. I have worked on cases encompassing a wide breadth of chemistry (most of which have nothing to do with my PhD) under the supervision of either an associate or a partner.

On a day-to-day basis the work includes drafting patent applications, reading search and examination reports, corresponding with clients and responding to Examiners. During this process, we often arrange to meet clients to discuss their invention and the importance of the patent to them. It is this variety of work that makes the job interesting.

In September, my formal training will begin with the Queen Mary Postgraduate Certificate in Intellectual Property Law programme, after which I will start preparing for both UK and European patent exams. Mathys & Squire also run enrichment training sessions which are based around different areas of law or practical aspects of the job and in the run up to exams they provide more focussed tutorials.

Starting a new career from scratch was a daunting prospect, but my colleagues have supported me and have made me feel part of the team. There is a steep learning curve and training takes a long time, so it is important that the people that you are working with help you through it. Everyone I have worked with at Mathys & Squire has been helpful and friendly, and they are always willing to give me their time.

There have also been numerous ways to get to know everyone outside of work. These have included organised events such as games night, bake sales and the summer and Christmas parties, in addition to more impromptu pub trips.

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