Emily Brunton – A day in the life
Intellectual Property specialist, Forresters, has recently grown its Liverpool office with the appointment of Emily Brunton, as a trainee patent attorney. Emily, 23, works alongside head of office, Ross Walker, as she trains to qualify as both a UK and European patent attorney.
Emily gives us the inside track on what it’s like being a trainee patent attorney working in Forresters’ Liverpool office.
Why did you choose this career?
I have always had a passion for finding out how things work and the science behind emerging technologies and new inventions. This role makes use of my background in science (having studied physics), while allowing me to work with a diverse range of technology instead of having to specialise in a narrow field. It allows me to combine science and law as well as supporting investors and innovators to protect their products once they go to market.
What do you like about the job?
I really enjoy the variety of cases that I get to work on. The nature of the job means that I am always learning about new technology in a range of different fields, which helps to keep things interesting.
Describe a typical day in your job?
Typically my day begins with a short half hour walk to work. I live in Liverpool and I enjoy walking through the city, as it gives me a chance to think about the day ahead.
The job is predominantly deadline driven, so my first task of the day is to check what deadlines I have coming up and assess the priorities. The average morning is spent working on a case, where I would typically be researching a client’s invention and seeing how it differs from what is already on the market. Each task is challenging in its own way. To draft a new application, you often have to get to grips with a new technology, right at the point of its inception. Currently I am working on cases involving optical and mechanical based inventions, which suit my physics background.
All my work has to be checked by a qualified attorney so I usually spend the afternoon getting feedback and discussing any areas where I need to improve.
I still spend a significant proportion of my time researching the law as there is a lot to learn, coming from a science background. Having graduated with an integrated masters in physics, I now need to undergo at least five years of on the job training!
What do you see as your key achievement(s) since you joined?
On a personal level, I have already gained a lot of knowledge and skills during my training, whilst developing my independence in the role. Also, a number of cases I have worked on have gone on to be granted patents, which is very rewarding to see.
What is the most interesting/unusual invention/patent you have worked on?
I’ve worked on a 3D video camera, a facial recognition scanner and X-ray machines. I also worked on a gaming accessory for iPads, which was really interesting (and fun to test out!). It was very exciting when I saw it for sale in the Apple store.
Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?
Hopefully still working at Forresters as a fully qualified patent attorney.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve received was to research “patent attorney” as a potential career option. It was something that I had never heard of before, and through doing that research I found a career that I wanted to pursue.
Who is your role model?
My granny. She’s a hugely inspirational woman – strong, determined and manages to live perfectly well off a diet of coffee, cake and champagne!
What is the thing that’s surprised you the most about the world of work?
I have been surprised by the level of responsibility handed to me so early in my training. The best way to gain experience is by handling real cases for clients, and seeing processes from start to finish. I do get a lot of guidance and support, but it is great to be getting into live cases so early on in my time with Forresters.
What advice would you give to others trying to get into the industry?
It’s so important to do your research. Patent law is a very niche area, so coming from a scientific or technical background, it’s helpful to understand as much as possible about the profession before applying for jobs. A good way to gain an insight into the day-to-day aspects of the job is by getting some real work experience, so I would definitely recommend exploring this as well.