Good things come to those who wait
When I applied for a training contract at Pinsent Masons I always had their Intellectual Property (IP) department in my sights. My first degree was in pharmacology and this naturally led me to an interest in patents, particularly of the pharmaceutical type.
At Pinsent Masons trainees get to put down three departments (in order of preference) when moving between seats. The Graduate Team then has the gruelling task of trying to keep a hundred odd trainees happy when we can’t understand why we didn’t get the seat we wanted – regardless of the fact that if we had all received our number one choice it may have resulted in 20 trainees in one department and none in another! I was eager to do IP, but so were others in the Birmingham office – so my first three seats were Property, Tax and then Corporate.
Although it is always disappointing if you don’t get a seat in a department you want I can assure you that the best way to tackle it is to go into each department aiming to learn as much as possible and get the best experience you can. This was the approach I took and I can genuinely say I’ve enjoyed every one of my seats – each for very different reasons. Not only that, but it has given me a really well-rounded training contract with an array of experiences which is always very important.
I’m often told patience is a virtue, as luck would have it my patience has paid off with dividends. Last summer a patent litigation team from a niche firm, Roiter Zucker, joined our IP team in London. They specialise in pharmaceutical patents and brought with them one of their clients, the largest generics company in the UK.
When I discussed the possibility of doing a seat with the team in London with graduate recruitment, they realised that it was some thing I was very keen to do. Relocating me to London meant not only having to justify the expense, but also having to finesse the number of trainees in both London and Birmingham so there weren’t any gaps or extras. However, seeing that I had something different that I could offer to the team by virtue of my science degree and knowing I’d been flexible in respect of my other seats they decided to make it happen.
I am now five weeks into my fourth seat in patent litigation and loving every minute of it. I’m working on incredibly exciting cases and making real use of my science background. The timing has also worked out pretty well as I arrived in London a week after the move to the brand new office in Crown Place, which is amazing to say the least. The irony is that had I done IP in my first seat it would have been before the patent litigation team joined and I would have missed out on this opportunity I have now.
I’d like to end with the moral of the story (as with these things, there should be a moral); you cannot always have what you want when you want it, law firms are businesses with business needs that need to be met. However, patience and a positive hard working attitude, coupled with being flexible will put you in the best position when you’re asking graduate recruitment to help you to do something a little different, be it a secondment or moving to another office. Who knows, along the way you may find areas of law interesting that you’d never have considered investigating otherise!