If you join J A Kemp for a career as a patent or trade mark attorney - at trainee, part qualified or qualified level - we will provide:
J A Kemp is a signatory to the IP Inclusive Charter, which promotes equality, diversity and inclusion within the IP sector.
Below you can see what some of our people have to say about the firm.
You may also be interested in comments from some of our clients.
You might like to know what some of our recruits have to say about the firm.
“Many patent attorneys enter the profession after spending a period doing research in the laboratory and deciding there is such a thing as too much science. I did the opposite! After graduating, I worked in finance for several years, but missed using the technical knowledge that I learnt during my degree. I decided that training to be a patent attorney would allow me to have the best of both worlds – using my scientific knowledge in a commercial setting.
At J A Kemp trainee patent attorneys are given a wide variety of work (on real cases) from day one. There are in-house tutorials throughout your training. The programme kicks off with a thorough grounding in the basics in your first couple of months at the firm, moving on to more advanced topics as your knowledge grows. In the run up to the professional exams, which are taken over the first few years to qualify as a patent attorney, the focus is on exam preparation.
You will be given a mentor at the outset of your training. Your mentor will have overall responsibility for your training, but you will work with several of the firm’s partners on a mix of cases. This is a great opportunity to experience different styles and approaches to patent work as you develop in confidence and learn the job. It also means that your caseload is varied – I work for all types of clients, ranging from tiny startups to huge multinationals, active in the UK, Europe, and all over the world, and handle patent applications for everything from jet engines, to bone implants, to coffee machines!
In a typical day, I will work on several different cases. I might be writing a new patent application for a client, preparing arguments to submit to the patent office, or, on a good day, writing to a client to tell them their patent has been granted! There are other types of work too, such as writing infringement opinions or carrying out due diligence work for companies that are looking at acquiring patents.
Although I came into this career by a roundabout route, I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who is looking for an intellectually challenging job in which they can use their scientific background to help businesses.”
"After completing an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, I stayed on to do a PhD in Pharmacology. At the time I knew that I wanted to remain in science, but I soon discovered that academic research was not for me. I began researching options and stumbled across a job advert for “Trainee Patent Attorney”, not knowing at the time what exactly the job involved. However, since my experience seemed to match the job requirements, I decided to look into it. To my delight, the job seemed like a perfect match! I was (and still am!) particularly fascinated by the job’s unique combination of science, law and business, and the opportunity to work on a broad range of technology areas. I sent out a few applications and was extremely fortunate to be offered a place at J A Kemp.
I joined J A Kemp’s Biotechnology and Life Sciences Group in October 2014. I remember working on real cases on my first day, which was daunting initially. However, it is amazing how much you can learn by just doing the job. As I have progressed through my career, I have also had increasing responsibility. I have been involved in prosecuting patent applications not only in the UK and Europe, but also worldwide. I have handled work for different clients, ranging from start-ups, SMEs and universities to multinational biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. The cases that I have worked on span a wide variety of different technology areas, such as antibodies and biologics, vaccines, plant sciences and medical devices, to name a few. There is always something new sitting on my desk that presents a different challenge, so I am pretty much guaranteed to never get bored! I also find it very exciting to follow the progress of a case that I have contributed to, knowing that everything I have done is making a real-world impact.
Other than your professional development, there are also plenty of opportunities to get involved in other aspects of the business. For instance, I have had the opportunity to be involved in business development in China, which involved meeting Chinese visitors, attending business development events, and even going on business trips abroad.
In the first few years as a trainee patent attorney, you will take a series of professional exams to become qualified as both a European and UK (chartered) patent attorney. I can tell you from first hand experience that it is definitely a challenge to balance work and study. Luckily, at J A Kemp, trainees receive a lot of support from the firm. A comprehensive in-house training programme is provided to help the trainees pass these notorious exams. We also get a generous amount of study leave. Your mentor will also make sure that your workload is decent and that you are generally feeling happy about everything (other than the fact that you need to take the exams!).
One thing that I particularly like about J A Kemp is the exceptionally positive and supportive working environment. I am encouraged to ask for help whenever I get stuck and everyone is always willing to give a helping hand and offer their advice. In addition, you will have the opportunity to work with different partners, which I understand is not always the case at other firms. Being exposed to different working styles has certainly helped me develop my “creativity skills”. Undeniably, these skills have proved to be useful, especially when formulating arguments in response to the patent examiner’s objections!
Looking back at the past few years, I feel very privileged to have entered this profession, and in particular, that I started my career with J A Kemp. If what you have learned and heard about the profession appeals to you, I urge you to start sending out applications. Good luck!"
"When I was exploring career options in my final year at university, I went to J A Kemp for an interview and was immediately 'sold' on the profession because of its unique mix of science, law and business skills. The interviewing partners tested my technical reasoning powers with some tough questions, but it was clear from the outset that they also wanted people with the drive and personal qualities to go on to win and retain clients for the firm.
What do I like most about the job? It’s difficult to know where to start!
The technical interest that I had in my degree subject when I first entered the profession is still there, but it has changed and developed over the years. I am now strongly focused on the commercial applications of science.
Overlaid onto the science is the massive and diverse field of patent law – worldwide! Being a large firm, we keep abreast of all significant developments in every country. Some of my most interesting work involves the contentious side of patent law, defending or opposing major pharmaceutical patent applications, often before the European Patent Office but sometimes elsewhere.
As a partner, I also have significant responsibility for developing the business of the firm. I really enjoy this aspect of the job. It starts with managing and building relationships with existing clients, but I also enjoy geographically focused business development. I visit India every year and also travel frequently to Germany, Spain and other European countries, as well as trying to fit in at least one trip to the USA each year.
In a firm such as J A Kemp, all partners have responsibility for mentoring attorneys. One of the most satisfying aspects of the role is to see a junior attorney progress and develop the intellectual and personal skills required to succeed. Sometimes it is when the ‘penny drops’ about an aspect of patent law or prosecution. On other occasions it is about client handling skills, learning to maintain a professional demeanour whilst showing a human side. Some of these skills can be taught, but it is often about bringing out an attorney’s personal qualities and building their confidence.
In summary, it is the variety of activities and skills that I enjoy in this job. The technology and the patent law are each intellectually challenging enough in themselves, but the job brings them together in a uniquely satisfying combination."
"One refreshing thing about a career as a patent attorney is that your day-to-day work is genuinely interesting. J A Kemp has many clients who are leaders in their fields. You get exposure to a broad spectrum of technologies."