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Good advice on a career in IP

James Nurton

What’s the secret to a successful career in IP? We asked three experienced practitioners that question, but do you agree with their answers?

Mindful of the fact that September is the time when young and newly qualified lawyers in many countries are starting new jobs, we devoted this month’s IP Clinic to career advice. The September issue is now online, and you can read what they have to say.

The contributors were Mayank Vaid (IP director, Asia-Pacific, Louis Vuitton), Anna Carboni, a solicitor with the law firm Redd in London (and former barrister) and Bob Baechtold, who is a patent lawyer with Fitzpatrick Cella in New York.


Coming from an in-house perspective, Mayank (left) singled out the importance of planning your career, as IP has become more specialised: “You must really drill down to focus on what interests you.” He also highlighted understanding your business: learn about the industry, read the annual report, get an MBA. “This will help lawyers connect with their clients, who are often non-legal people, and understand what is important to them,” he said.

Bob Baechtold (right) said there are three basic skills essential for patent specialists, which you have to constantly work to improve: technology, legal and communication skills. The last of these can be the toughest, he added: “People with technology backgrounds are very good at communicating with other people with similar backgrounds, but find it hard to be persuasive to non-specialists.”

Anna (left), who specialises in trade mark and copyright work, highlighted the importance of listening to clients (“not all clients want the same type of work product, so you have to be a bit of a chameleon”) and developing the business. “Partners and senior staff should be encouraging junior staff to develop their knowledge and network, including by attending events and lectures, reading and writing on subjects that interest you.”

Diverse advice from practitioners in three different areas – but one common theme was the need constantly to reevaluate your professional aims and skills. Bob described how patent lawyers should take courses to keep up-to-date in technology, read the latest cases and solicit advice from colleagues, while Anna said: “Don’t be afraid to try different things and stretch yourself.”

Read all three articles (IP Clinic: What advice do you have for someone starting out on a career in IP?) in our September issue – subscription or free trial required.

What advice would you give someone starting out in IP? Click on the comment button to share your professional wisdom.

Finally, if you are starting a new job, or even embarking on a completely new career this year, good luck! And click on the comment button to let us know the best piece of advice you’ve received.


Article Comments

Never stop learning, search for blogs, web pages and articles; attend seminars, anual meetings, etc, all regarding IP. Enjoy your work, be passionate about it!

Ninoshka Urrutia Sep 10, 2013

My advice would be to be good at maths. You need to know how much things will cost. And be good at juggling.

Chris McLeod Sep 03, 2013

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