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How Patent Attorneys Start their Career at HLK

By Natalie Owen, HR Advisor

At HLK we employ a variety of roles that are well known to college leavers and university graduates; everything from solicitors to marketing executives, administrative assistants to trademark attorneys. We wanted to shine a light on how HLK support the transition from graduate to trainee attorney, and what it looks like at the beginning of a career that is generally less well known – a career as a patent attorney. This is a specialised legal profession, qualified to advise clients on patents and help them secure patents around the world.

At HLK we firmly believe that being the best firm that we can be is only achievable when everyone in every role feels valued, integrated, and motivated to perform at their highest possible level. For us, this is a business imperative! We recruit talented, committed people who care about service quality and help us build great client relationships. As an IP firm we are invested in the careers of our attorneys.

Every year a cohort of trainee attorneys start their IP career with us; we commit to ensuring that those who drive progress have their creativity protected and talent rewarded. We recruit graduates from across the country who are enthusiastic, with their academic backgrounds in science and technology. Year on year we receive more and more applications for the roles of trainee patent attorneys, and yet it is a career path still unknown to many students so wanted to provide insight into and promote an amazing career as a patent attorney at HLK!

Training is the first step and can last upwards of 4 years. Luckily for us, at HLK training is in our DNA. In the 1860s, our original founders, Haseltine and Lake, believed in training and they trained the next generation of patent attorneys, many of whom went on to be at the forefront of the patent profession. We have continued this tradition of training, launching our Academy in 2013; an in-house training school set up to support the early stages of patent training. This is the foundation from which our trainees kick-start their career and we receive great feedback.

“There’s a real focus on training here, which means that the focus for trainees is on developing your skills so that you’ll become a better attorney, rather than on billing time and simply passing exams.”

“There is a really supportive and collaborative atmosphere at the firm, and everyone is happy to help and answer questions.”

However, the support and mentorship continue long after trainees graduate from the Academy. We host follow-on programmes, providing trainees with the opportunity to consolidate core skills and consider some challenging new IP issues in greater depth. We have found that this approach yields great results for our trainees in their exams to become qualified attorneys in the UK and Europe.