Greg, Associate Patent Attorney (UK and European), Haseltine Lake LLP

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    Mechanical Engineering (MEng), 2012      

    Haseltine Lake LLP

Since leaving Bristol…

I didn't have a graduate role secured before leaving Bristol. After graduating, I worked for a local company throughout the summer and did some travelling. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, so this allowed me some time to contemplate my options whilst alleviating any money issues/moaning from parents.

I knew that I wanted to work using my engineering knowledge but not as a classic engineer. I spent evenings scouring job sites/forums/LinkedIn, etc., for jobs/industries that sounded interesting and then looked into what each one actually entailed day-to-day. When I came across adverts for trainee patent attorneys, the job immediately stood out as a specialised role with a lucrative balance of engineering, law and business.

In my current job…

I am now working as a patent attorney back in Bristol after around 5 years in London after graduating. It is a reasonably small profession with only around 1500 practising attorneys in the UK. As a predominantly legal industry, it is a big change from studying engineering, where there is usually a clear right answer. The training is mostly on-the-job and supplemented by courses run by universities and training companies.

It can take between 3-6 years to complete your training depending upon when you pass your exams. Once you have qualified as a patent attorney, you can progress through a firm with aspirations of making partner, specialise in a certain area of patent law, set up your own firm or teach future trainees.

Having a UoB degree…

A good scientific degree is a prerequisite to train as a patent attorney, as the job requires a broad knowledge of scientific concepts to understand and analyse patentable inventions. However, if you wish to continue using your in-depth engineering skills day-to-day, it may not be the job for you - buttons other than add and subtract go neglected on my calculator these days.

The industry is dominated by redbrick university graduates and the overall quality of applicants to trainee roles is very high. I think Bristol is well regarded, but several of my firm's partners are Bristol graduates so this may have helped!


Overall, I would suggest taking time to research different jobs with a view to focusing your application efforts on a small number of fairly specific roles that are genuinely interesting to you. Even if you don't immediately find that 'perfect' job, you may discover that some roles you would have applied for aren't actually very appealing after all.

After much research and deliberation, I decided that I wanted to be a patent attorney. This meant I could spend my time learning about the profession and tailoring my applications accordingly, rather than filling out the same details in yet another 40-page online application for a huge multinational.