Robyn Hardisty

Trainee Patent Attorney

"From day one, you assist with client correspondence, help draft patent applications and evaluate the prior art."

My journey

I joined Haseltine Lake Kempner's Chemical and Life Sciences Team in 2017, after completing my PhD in Chemistry. While I had generally enjoyed the scientific research both in an academic and industrial setting, there were days where I would simply repeat routine experiments, or spend hours inputting samples into a machine. I soon realised I was more interested in reading about cutting-edge technology than actually performing the experiments. I therefore sought a profession where I could use my chemical knowledge in a wide range of different technical fields, while constantly being intellectually challenged.

My role

As a trainee, you work closely with one partner or senior attorney. From day one, you assist with client correspondence, help draft patent applications and evaluate the prior art. In my first year of training, I mainly helped writing letters in response to Examination Reports. More often than not, upon examination of a patent application, the European or UK patent office has a number of objections detailing why the application cannot be granted in its current form. It is our job to respond to these objections, and make arguments as to why the patent application is novel and inventive over the cited prior art. This requires a good understanding of both the technology and the law, and the arguments often require an element of creativity.

The work is also incredibly varied. Our team handles work for a broad range of clients in a diverse range of technologies, from university spinouts to large multinationals. As a result, I find the IP profession very academically rewarding.

What I like about my job

One thing that sets Haseltine Lake Kempner apart is the amount of training and support that is provided for trainees. In the first few months as a trainee, you attend the in-house ‘HLK Academy’ for 2 days a week. This equips you with all the skills that are required for your day-to-day job – we have, for example, lessons on how to interpret an Examination Report or how to draft claims for a simple mechanical device. Later on, while studying for Foundation and Finals Exams, there is additional support, with numerous tutorials and ‘past paper practice’ for every exam that you sit. An additional benefit is that you become incredibly close with your training cohort.

Haseltine Lake Kempner is also an incredibly friendly and sociable place to work. The firm understands the importance of a healthy work/life balance. There are also a number of firm-wide events arranged each year, a favourite of mine being the summer boat-trip. On top of this, there are team picnics, pub quizzes, a monthly ‘drink trolley’ and even a HL ski trip!

If you love science and technology and have an analytical mind – consider joining us!