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Case Study: Alan Boyd

Personal details
Degree:Computer Science (PhD) Profile picture
School(s): School of Computer Science
Year of Graduation:Nov-2010
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: D Young & Co LLP
Job title: Trainee Patent Attorney
Occupational Sector: Patent Law
What has been your route to getting your current position?
I achieved a degree in computer science, followed by a PhD in computer science, specialising in network routing protocols.
What does your job involve ?
Acting on behalf of companies to help in obtaining patents.
What are the best bits of your job ?
Developing arguments to use during examination of patents.
Why were you successful?
Work experience

I got in contact with a partner at a London firm, and after asking what the job entailed, he invited me to come down and do some work there. I then spent 3 days in their London office doing work that attorneys commonly do (responding to a patent office examination report).

As a matter of interest, my current firm often offer summer internships (particularly in the field of computer science), which can be very helpful in getting a foot in the door.

I would also advise potential applicants to check the companies they interview at very thoroughly.  In particular, applicants should try to find out what proportion of trainees who start at a firm make it through to qualification at the same firm. 

What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
Being very detail focused, good communication skills, particularly in being able to describe complex ideas.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
Getting into the profession is very difficult due to competition.  Most companies do very extensive and thorough interviews that are designed to test both your technical knowledge and communication skills.