• Role: Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Location: York
  • University: Sheffield
  • Degree: BEng Aerospace Engineering

Alexander Simpson

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Why did you decide to pursue a career as a patent attorney?

As a final year student at university, I was unsure about what to do after I graduated. I had always enjoyed learning about science and technology, but didn’t want to specialise in a particular field by pursuing a PhD or taking on a job as a graduate engineer. After doing some research, it seemed like a career as a patent attorney would give me the opportunity to work with a satisfying mixture of technology, law and business.

What’s it like working at Secerna?

I’ve greatly enjoyed working as a trainee at Secerna. From the start, I’ve been given significant responsibility over my workload and output, but it has always been backed up by lots of support and training. Working in a smaller firm has several benefits and means that I get to experience a broader range of work than I otherwise might. For example, in my first few months I gained significant experience in drafting and prosecution, as well as assisting senior colleagues with more contentious matters. The firm has an interesting and diverse range of clients. As well as working for several multinational corporations, we work with many SMEs, individual inventors and universities, meaning there are great opportunities to get to know clients and their businesses better.

What skills are required?

In order to be successful as a patent attorney you need to be self-motivated and creative. You should be interested in learning about new areas of technology, as well as the legal and commercial aspects of intellectual property. Good communication skills are vital, as on a daily basis you will be required to discuss complex legal and technical ideas with patent offices, clients and colleagues. The training requires a significant amount of study, some of which will be in your own time. However, I have found this to be very manageable, as the things I study are continuously reinforced in my day to day work. I would recommend a career as a patent attorney to anyone who is technically minded and has a desire to learn new things every day.

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