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Graduate training programme

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To succeed in the IP profession you need to combine a diverse range of skills: technical, legal and commercial. In addition you need to be able grasp new ideas quickly and communicate them succinctly. You need to have an eye for detail while still being able to see the bigger picture. You need to be able to argue in order to persuade and you need to be able to listen in order to understand.

It sounds like a lot and it is. However, at Boult Wade Tennant you’ve got a head start. You’ll be trained by one of the largest and most respected patent and trade mark firms in Europe; one that is renowned for the quality of its training programme. We will equip you with the skills you need to be an outstanding patent or trade mark attorney and help you take your first steps towards fulfilling your career ambitions.

We are looking for people with an impressive academic record, who have excellent potential, the right personal qualities and are committed to excellence.

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Training at Boult Wade Tennant

When you decide which firm you want to join you must consider more than just the starting salary or the office location. You need to look a little deeper at the training programme, the support that is offered, exam success rates and how the firm intends to develop your skills throughout your career.

At Boult Wade Tennant we invest in our trainees. We have a structured programme of tuition aimed at helping you fulfil your potential. You will be learning from the best in our profession.

As you progress through the formative stages of your career in the world of IP, you will be part of a peer group who are on the same learning curve as you and who are experiencing the same new and exciting challenges as you are.

For patent trainees, you should expect your first year to involve largely on the job training with real client facing work from day one. You will work alongside your supervisor on real cases, with an emphasis on prosecuting patent applications through to grant. We pay for patent trainees, normally in their second year, to take the four-month long Queen Mary University of London Certificate in IP law and provide all that time out of the office so that our trainees can focus on those studies. Then in the third and fourth years, our patent trainees take their finals examinations. Preparation is undertaken alongside real work, and includes residential courses as well as a program of internal tutorials. There is no fixed timetable for taking the finals papers so there is flexibility to suit the individual. It takes at least 3½ years to qualify as a patent attorney and most of our trainees qualify within 5 years.

For trade mark trainees, you should also expect your first year to involve largely on the job training; you will work alongside your supervisor on real client facing work from day one. After at least a year, we pay for our trade mark trainees to take a Postgraduate Certificate in Trade Mark Law at Queen Mary University of London. This is delivered in a two-week intensive stint in September followed by two day courses every few weeks until April. You will apply what you learn whilst undertaking real client work the remainder of the time. Subsequently, we pay for our trade mark trainees to take the Professional Certificate in Trade Mark Practice at Nottingham Trent University. This course is delivered in intensive spells of a few days every four to six weeks from October to July. Successful completion of this course leads to qualification as a trade mark attorney. It normally takes 3 to 4 years to qualify as a trade mark attorney.

We also ensure your development is well rounded; it is not all about just intellectual property. We help our trainees understand the basics of good business practice and about client care. We will introduce you to professional ethics, associated best practices and put what you are learning about into a commercial context. We encourage all of our trainees to focus on soft skills, networking and languages. Our aim is to help you be the best possible attorney you can be; we want you to succeed. You can be assured that if you are struggling with an area whether that is in intellectual property or other professional skills, we will help and support you in order that you can succeed.

Entry requirements

To be considered for a place on our training programme you will need at least:

  • a 2:1 undergraduate degree (obtained or predicted). Those with a patent interest must have, or be studying for, a technical degree (science and/or engineering).
  • 136 UCAS point (AAB) at A level.

For international students, we will expect the equivalent national qualifications.

What’s it really like?

Dr Joanna Peak, Partner
Biotechnology and Life Sciences Group

Where did your career start?

After receiving my Biochemistry degree from the University of Cambridge, I moved to The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) to study for a PhD. My doctoral research carried out at the ICR was funded by Cancer Research UK and was in the field of “translational cancer research”. This is the area of research which aims to translate basic scientific discoveries into new cancer drugs suitable for testing in clinical trials. In 2007 I received my PhD and was keen to pursue a career in science but in a role away from the laboratory bench. I took a job at Cancer Research UK’s (CR-UK) headquarters in their Science Communications team.

What made you change career direction?

During my PhD and at CR-UK, I learnt a great deal about the importance of commercialising scientific discoveries and the significance of the patent system, particularly in the biotechnology sector. The role of a patent attorney particularly appealed to me because it seemed like a career that would allow me to remain close to cutting-edge research whilst making use of my communication skills.

Why Boult Wade Tennant?

I was keen to find a firm with an excellent reputation and one which would provide me with the training needed to pass the professional examinations. Boult Wade Tennant is consistently ranked as a top tier firm and has an excellent track record in terms of trainees’ success in examinations. I was also aware that the Biotechnology and Life Sciences Group is world renowned, with an international client list, so I knew the firm would provide me with many opportunities to gain valuable practical experience.

What professional qualifications did you study for?

A few months after starting at Boult Wade Tennant, I completed the Certificate in Intellectual Property Law postgraduate course at Queen Mary University of London. I was awarded the Bill Caro Prize for best overall results in the Certificate examinations. I also studied for the UK and European Qualifying Examinations and am qualified as a Chartered UK Patent Attorney and European Patent Attorney.

What was the best bit of training?

The best part of the training can also be regarded as the worst part of the training! This is because patent attorneys primarily train on the job without a separate period of study for examinations. I thoroughly enjoyed being given the opportunity to work on “real cases”. However, the downside was that it was sometimes difficult fitting in additional study.

During training was there much client contact?

Boult Wade Tennant prides itself on building excellent relationships with its clients, and I have been able to learn about the scientific and commercial interests of many of the Biotechnology clients as a result of my involvement in client meetings and off-site visits.

Was the transition between professions difficult?

For me, the transition between my different roles since leaving university has been relatively smooth as my experience both in the laboratory and as a science writer was relevant to my position at Boult Wade Tennant. As a patent attorney, a strong technical background is extremely important when it comes to clearly understanding our clients’ inventions, and good communications skills are required in order to translate this understanding into effective patent protection. So, my past experience has been extremely valuable in helping me progress in my current career.

Joanna Peak Partner Biotechnology Patents Firm

A European award-winning patent and trade mark firm delivering world-class advice to enhance the commercial value of intellectual property rights globally.