Highest Marks In The Country For Forresters Trainee


Passing your patent and trade mark exams is no mean feat – but this year one Birmingham trainee won two prizes for scoring the highest marks in the country. Here Jack Dean talks about life as a trainee patent attorney at Forresters.

 Ask most patent attorneys what one of their biggest achievements to date has been and they will generally say the same thing – passing their law exams.

To find out you have passed your exams is an opportunity to celebrate. However, there are a small number of trainee patent attorneys that do so well they win awards for achieving the highest marks in the country. This year Jack Dean was one of them and he was presented with certificates and cash prizes for getting the highest marks in his trade mark law and design & copyright exams.

Jack joined our Birmingham office in February last year after completing a master’s degree in chemistry at the University of Oxford. He said he was thrilled to have passed the exams, which had to be taken under lockdown conditions.

“It was a pleasant surprise to receive the awards, as I’d just been keeping my fingers crossed that I would pass,” said Jack. “This year the exams had to be taken online, and it was stressful doing this at home, as they invigilated using video calls. I think we all worried about what would happen if the WiFi went down, or we couldn’t get into the video calls.

“Since passing the exams and receiving the awards my family and friends have been very proud, and I’ve had lots of congratulations messages. In October I will be doing the four UK final exams and if I pass those I’ll be a fully qualified UK patent attorney.”

for design & copyright Jack received 86% and was presented with the Mike Higgins Prize, and for trade mark law he achieved 88% and was awarded the Keith Farwell Prize.

“Forresters realised quite early on, in the move to working from home, that it was going to be harder to provide training,” he said. “They set up a weekly training meeting for all the trainees and our supervisors from the Birmingham office. We could go through a topic that was relevant for our work, such as how to engage with clients and how to perform our daily work. As exams came closer the meetings focused on what we would need to know to get good grades, and other complicated areas of law.

“The meetings were great because we were able to see what other people were struggling with, or sometimes they would pick up on a point you hadn’t thought about yourself. My high grades are a testament to the quality of training offered by Forresters.”

We recently announced that ten of our trainees, across four of our offices, had passed their IP Law exams. Trainees usually spend their day researching clients’ inventions and ideas, and finding out how they are unique and different from what is already on the market.

“My work is very deadline driven and to draft a new patent application you have to understand the technology you are working with,” says Jack. “A lot of my day is working on cases, researching and drafting new applications. Everything I work on is then checked by a qualified attorney, we then discuss any areas that need extra work, or more research.

“Once work is done I’ve then spent time focusing on my studies. It’s been harder working and learning in the same space – when you finish your work and do your studying you are still in the same room and at the same desk. I am looking forward to getting back into the office and having that change of scene, and seeing people again.”

Earlier this year we revealed that we were bucking the national trend by continuing with our highly regarded training programme. According to research from the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, six out of ten employers stopped all new apprenticeships when the coronavirus took hold. However having recently been recognised as one of Europe’s Leading Patent Law Firms for 2020 in the prestigious Financial Times listing, we have decided to continue our investment in growing talent and developing a skilled and qualified workforce.

Jack said he was attracted to working at Forresters because it’s a firm with a long history and a very good reputation – particularly when it comes to training. “When I left university, intellectual property seemed really interesting as it brought a new dimension to the sciences I’d learnt in my degree,” he said. “I have always enjoyed reading and so this appealed as a way of using science and logical thinking, while also doing plenty of research.

“Forresters has a really good reputation for the way it works with clients, and the training it provides. Before I joined Forresters I had met some of the people that worked at the firm, and they came across very well and were really nice. They encouraged me to apply to become a trainee patent attorney and it was the best move I made. Now I’m looking forward to an interesting and exciting career as a patent attorney with Forresters.”

Jack’s supervising partner is Russell Sessford, who started his career as a trainee with Forresters and has now been with the firm for 16 years. “We are delighted to see all our trainees doing so well in this year’s exams, and Jack’s outstanding results are the icing on the cake,” said Russell. “I’ve worked with Jack for the last year and it’s great to see that all his hard work has paid off.

“At Forresters we don’t just prepare our trainees for their exams, we also involve them in client cases to ensure they develop the practical skills needed to become successful attorneys. I’m looking forward to seeing how Jack’s career develops at Forresters and I’m sure he will be instrumental in our firm’s continued success.”