Opportunities for Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys are Not Restricted to London, Argues Fellows and Associates

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Recruiter of IP professionals, Fellows and Associates, explains that those looking for a career in Intellectual Property do not need to flock to the capital.

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This is an encouraging sign that law firms and firms of patent and trade mark attorneys are investing significant time in growing their presence across the UK and allowing those who do not live in London similar opportunities to those who do.

A recent article published by Fellows and Associates has highlighted that professionals working in IP do not necessarily need to work in London, even though it is still widely regarded as the main activity hub for the profession.

“The majority of employers, such as law firms and firms of patent and trade mark attorneys, are situated within the capital and it is without question the highest concentration of firms of this nature in the UK,” explains consultant Phillipa Field. “However, there are fantastic opportunities for attorneys further afield in the regions.”

The article focuses on the experiences of four professionals working in the industry and uncovers a variety reasons behind why they have chosen to distance themselves from London.

“I was never really taken with it as a city,” comments patent attorney David Hufton, who began his career in the capital, and explains that he “regarded London as the best place to be as a trainee”. A combination of this lack of enthusiasm for his surroundings and a dearth in opportunities meant that David made the move and has now consequently settled in a senior role with a leading firm of patent and trade mark attorneys in the North, HGF.

Another contributor, Laura West, chose to not pursue her IP career in London but rather stick to her local area initially and then make the move from the Midlands to Manchester. Her choice to focus on working for a regional office rather than navigating towards the ‘obvious’ choice of London has benefited her career greatly. She enthuses “I would encourage anyone to relocate, if they have the flexibility to do so, as it greatly increases your chances at finding the best fit for you in terms of working environment, mix of clients and support structure. Most people in this industry will have already lived away from home at university which makes the leap a little easier, plus it gives you the opportunity to see new places and meet new people.”

Dewdney Drew, Director of Trade Marks for Murgitroyd & Company, is originally from South Africa and moved to his current firm’s Glasgow office before settling down in London. He has enjoyed a far more relaxed working style since his move, commenting, “I have found that UK practice allows a much better work life balance. The South African profession appears to be closer to US practice, where weekends at the office, for example, are common. British trade mark practice seems to follow a more balanced approach.” A more balanced approach may have been the case when he was in Glasgow; however it now seems that his progression up through the firm and subsequent increase in responsibility has seen a tip in the scales towards a more work heavy bias. From an international perspective Dewdney can see positive elements of both working in London and in the regions, highlighting that a better work life balance is achievable outside of the capital and that “one can work with London clients from other parts of the UK and I did so for many years in Glasgow. The difference, I suppose, is that by being in London, one is better placed to spend more time with your clients face to face and get to understand their way of thinking and their needs. This also makes for better rapport.”

Fellows and Associates’ final contributor began his career overseas and then in a large firm of patent and trade mark attorneys in London, before the economic downturn of 2009 unfortunately made him redundant and encouraged him to look further afield for opportunities. He is currently working in Yorkshire and, although he does recognise that trainees may find it difficult to learn and develop outside of the capital, he has not seen a dramatic difference in work load or work life balance since his move. However he does partly attribute this down to his time overseas and suggests “the merits of relocation can depend on the firm you are joining, or moving offices with.”

Pete Fellows, Managing Director at Fellows and Associates, comments “we have seen a steep increase in the number of opportunities available outside of the capital recently, especially for those who are fairly early on in their career. I think that this is an encouraging sign that law firms and firms of patent and trade mark attorneys are investing significant time in growing their presence across the UK and allowing those who do not live in London similar opportunities to those who do.”

About Fellows and Associates
Fellows and Associates recruit Patent Attorneys, Trade Mark Attorneys, IP Lawyers and other Intellectual Property professionals worldwide. The firm offers a diverse range of recruitment services including search, advertised selection and managed campaigns. Fellows and Associates’ management consultancy division offers targeted strategic advice to firms within the Intellectual Property sector worldwide. See http://www.fellowsandassociates.com for more, phone +44 207 903 5019 or email contact(at)fellowsandassociates(dot)com.

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Pete Fellows
since: 07/2009
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