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    I am currently an undergraduate studying Biomedical Science at Oxford Brookes University, still in my first year. I am very interested in pursuing a career as a patent attorney, and I have been looking at various law firms (particularly those with offices in London) to get information on their open days, vacation schemes and training contracts.

    However, the minimum requirements that are stated for applicants are concerning me; most, if not all, firms require a 2:1 degree. Although I am only in my first year, I am fairly confident that I will be able to achieve this. But the firms also require a minimum number of UCAS points (most ranged from 340 points to 300 points, across 3 A-Levels). I didn't work particularly hard during my A-Levels, and ended up getting BCD (or 240 UCAS points), which is obviously lower than the stated 340-300 points required by law firms.

    I am concerned that even if I obtain a 2:1 degree, my application will be binned immediately because of my A-Levels (I have read they have some kind of filtering system for applications). I don't really know what to do; I have been considering re-taking some of my A-Level modules to try to improve the grades, but I don't know where I will find the time to revise. Or I have been looking at the MSc Management in Intellectual Property course at QMUL, which I could do after I graduate; will this course make me more attractive to law firms?

    I am really determined to follow this career path, and don't want my poor A-Levels to be the reason why I am held back. Any advice about what I should do will be much appreciated, especially from people who have been in my situation.
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    I'm kind of in the same boat at the moment, though I'm second year law. On an average, I'm just about working at a 2:1 level, but since I don't actually have a degree yet, they look at my 260 UCAS points.

    I think the best thing you can really do is extra-curricular stuff, like voluntary work at various places. You need to make them look past the UCAS points and consider you as a candidate.
    I think you're right in thinking that some have a filtering system, but not all of them do. If you make your CV impressive you'll stand out
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    To be honest I wouldn't consider a career in law solely on the basis of wanting to be an IP lawyer. It seems to be a relatively small area, with very few firms actively specializing in the area. Most IP departments are likely to be within larger firms, so it may not be entirely likely that you'd end up working in this area even if a firm had such a department.
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    Hey guys... I don't want to burst your bubble, but I want to be honest with you? So, I graduated with a 1st in my LLB, am studying at Oxford now and have AAB at A-Level... it is STILL pretty tough finding jobs and things. I have gained legal internships every year since 2009 and still... it's an upwards battle. If you DO want to do it, just keep in mind that there will be a bunch of people with amazing grades who are competing against you. You need something to REALLY stand out. I'm not sure what that would be. One of my friends with poor A-Levels actually went back and redid them to increase his chances so that he could get into decent firms. It might not even be an issue for you since your interested in niche area. I would contact the IP firms and ask them for work experience... but if there is like you've pointed out a minimum A-Level result... it's unlikely they will look at your application. It's just because of the screening process... Sorry to be so negative but thought you'd want to know!
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    (Original post by tizzybelle)
    Hey guys... I don't want to burst your bubble, but I want to be honest with you? So, I graduated with a 1st in my LLB, am studying at Oxford now and have AAB at A-Level... it is STILL pretty tough finding jobs and things. I have gained legal internships every year since 2009 and still... it's an upwards battle. If you DO want to do it, just keep in mind that there will be a bunch of people with amazing grades who are competing against you. You need something to REALLY stand out. I'm not sure what that would be. One of my friends with poor A-Levels actually went back and redid them to increase his chances so that he could get into decent firms. It might not even be an issue for you since your interested in niche area. I would contact the IP firms and ask them for work experience... but if there is like you've pointed out a minimum A-Level result... it's unlikely they will look at your application. It's just because of the screening process... Sorry to be so negative but thought you'd want to know!
    oxford require 3 A's to do law
    also if you have done internships since 2009 it means you started doing them at the beginning or mid as level even before A2's
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    Patent attorneys and solicitors are different things so not all the "wisdom" on training contracts will necessarily apply
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    (Original post by woody-wood)
    oxford require 3 A's to do law
    also if you have done internships since 2009 it means you started doing them at the beginning or mid as level even before A2's
    I didn't do my undergrad at Oxford =) and yep I did my internships before I started my undergrad... I was a bit keen
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    (Original post by tizzybelle)
    I didn't do my undergrad at Oxford =) and yep I did my internships before I started my undergrad... I was a bit keen
    I think you mean work experience because 'internships'/ vac schemes are only offered to 2nd years
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    (Original post by woody-wood)
    I think you mean work experience because 'internships'/ vac schemes are only offered to 2nd years
    With the formal big city/regional firms you're right! But I did mine for 2/3 months with a barrister it's usually called a 'mini pupillage.' Is two months not an internship? I always thought it was... haha my bad if not! But anyway I didn't want to go into details soooo I just said it was an internship =)
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    (Original post by tizzybelle)
    With the formal big city/regional firms you're right! But I did mine for 2/3 months with a barrister it's usually called a 'mini pupillage.' Is two months not an internship? I always thought it was... haha my bad if not! But anyway I didn't want to go into details soooo I just said it was an internship =)
    mini pupillages last between 1 to 5 days, hence the term mini. 2/3 months is almost like doing your 1st six
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    (Original post by tizzybelle)
    With the formal big city/regional firms you're right! But I did mine for 2/3 months with a barrister it's usually called a 'mini pupillage.' Is two months not an internship? I always thought it was... haha my bad if not! But anyway I didn't want to go into details soooo I just said it was an internship =)
    also barristers don't really do internships or take anyone on casually and unpaid for 2/3 months
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    (Original post by woody-wood)
    also barristers don't really do internships or take anyone on casually and unpaid for 2/3 months
    They do if you went to the same school as their daughter and know them personally...
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    (Original post by tizzybelle)
    They do if you went to the same school as their daughter and know them personally...
    Then I don't see why you are finding it an uphill struggle to get in the legal world
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    (Original post by woody-wood)
    Then I don't see why you are finding it an uphill struggle to get in the legal world
    Because I don't want to be a barrister! I want to be a solicitor...
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    (Original post by tizzybelle)
    Because I don't want to be a barrister! I want to be a solicitor...
    but there is greater access in the legal field to being a solicitor than a barrister, i'm fairly certain the rule of thumb is that it's more competitive to be a barrister in general
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    (Original post by tizzybelle)
    Hey guys... I don't want to burst your bubble, but I want to be honest with you? So, I graduated with a 1st in my LLB, am studying at Oxford now and have AAB at A-Level... it is STILL pretty tough finding jobs and things. I have gained legal internships every year since 2009 and still... it's an upwards battle. If you DO want to do it, just keep in mind that there will be a bunch of people with amazing grades who are competing against you. You need something to REALLY stand out. I'm not sure what that would be. One of my friends with poor A-Levels actually went back and redid them to increase his chances so that he could get into decent firms. It might not even be an issue for you since your interested in niche area. I would contact the IP firms and ask them for work experience... but if there is like you've pointed out a minimum A-Level result... it's unlikely they will look at your application. It's just because of the screening process... Sorry to be so negative but thought you'd want to know!
    One would think that you would know how to use paragraphs after getting all those 'excellent' grades.


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    Hey PaulS10,

    If you want to become a patent attorney, go for it! As a part qualified patent attorney myself, I entered the profession fresh out of uni almost three years ago and sice then I have really enjoyed the work!

    The real prolem is getting your foot in-the-door so to speak. The profession is small and trainee jobs are hard to come by (incidentally there are more trainee jobs with intellectual property firms [eg Boult Wade Tennant, Abel & Imray, Beck Greener, Carpmaels & Ransford], not law firms). Just to give you some perspective, when I was trying to get into the profession three years ago, I sent off over 50 speculative CVs; I got two replies (and thankfully one job offer).

    Being realistic with you, your A Levels will be a turn off to most employers. Even though your A Levels in practice don't necessarily affect your ability to do the job, as the sector is so oversubscribed by applicants employers can afford to be selective.

    Providing you come out with a 2:1 yet you cannot get a trainee job with a patent firm directly, two things which might help your chances of getting a trainee position:
    1) do the QMUL Msc in Intellectual Property as this grants you an exemption to some of the professional patent exams needed to become a UK patent attorney;
    2) try applying for a patent administrator / record clerk role within a patent firm. These roles essentially involve being responsible for the deadlines on the record system which patent attorneys use to make sure they don't miss important deadlines on their patent cases. These roles, although not as well paid as a patent attorney, would however act as a great starting point in getting a trainee patent attorney job and would look good on your CV. I can tell you this as I have seen people in these roles make the transition!

    In summary, the hardest thing is getting the trainee job in the first place. From there, things are great! Any problems, feel free to PM me.
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    Was hoping I'd find something like this thread here.

    I'm a 3rd year student at Durham studying Biomed Sci (like the OP), currently holding offers from Imperial and Kings for MSc Genetics next year. I'd like to go on studying science for one more year at least then go into law, either GDL and LPC route or as a patent attorney. I'm working as hard as I can for a 2.1 degree but am terrified I may fall short and get a 2.2 (around 58% which would make me want to kill myself).

    I seriously don't believe that there are enough Oxbridge and other elite uni graduates saturating all the IP/patent places with scientific degrees. There must be small/mid range firms that would consider a high 2.2 science grad with a masters over a humanities 2.1 from a lesser university? Otherwise why the **** didn't I just go to Reading, study geography, have as much fun/sex/alcohol as I could, walk out with a 2.1 degree, allowing for my training contract applications to actually be considered....
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    (Original post by beansonfish)
    Was hoping I'd find something like this thread here.

    I'm a 3rd year student at Durham studying Biomed Sci (like the OP), currently holding offers from Imperial and Kings for MSc Genetics next year. I'd like to go on studying science for one more year at least then go into law, either GDL and LPC route or as a patent attorney. I'm working as hard as I can for a 2.1 degree but am terrified I may fall short and get a 2.2 (around 58% which would make me want to kill myself).

    I seriously don't believe that there are enough Oxbridge and other elite uni graduates saturating all the IP/patent places with scientific degrees. There must be small/mid range firms that would consider a high 2.2 science grad with a masters over a humanities 2.1 from a lesser university? Otherwise why the **** didn't I just go to Reading, study geography, have as much fun/sex/alcohol as I could, walk out with a 2.1 degree, allowing for my training contract applications to actually be considered....
    Why didn't you? I'm a bit sick of this attitude from science students on TSR to be honest. You knew you needed a 2:1 when you went to do BMS. There is no point blaming the system if you fall short.

    As for your question- some small firms may well take a 2:2 in a subject related to their matters. I'm not sure if the MSc will make any difference at all. It might, but considering that even LLMs are sometimes seen as a waste of time for candidates...

    Firms might also be wary about your commitment to the law given your proposed next step.


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    (Original post by beansonfish)
    Was hoping I'd find something like this thread here.

    I'm a 3rd year student at Durham studying Biomed Sci (like the OP), currently holding offers from Imperial and Kings for MSc Genetics next year. I'd like to go on studying science for one more year at least then go into law, either GDL and LPC route or as a patent attorney. I'm working as hard as I can for a 2.1 degree but am terrified I may fall short and get a 2.2 (around 58% which would make me want to kill myself).

    I seriously don't believe that there are enough Oxbridge and other elite uni graduates saturating all the IP/patent places with scientific degrees. There must be small/mid range firms that would consider a high 2.2 science grad with a masters over a humanities 2.1 from a lesser university? Otherwise why the **** didn't I just go to Reading, study geography, have as much fun/sex/alcohol as I could, walk out with a 2.1 degree, allowing for my training contract applications to actually be considered....
    I can only comment with regard entry into the profession as a patent attorney, not as a solicitor. For a start, you cannot become a patent attorney without an undergraduate science degree. Therefore a degree in geography followed by a post graduate science degree won't be sufficient.

    There is good reason patent firms want a 2:1 or above. Patents are technical documents and patent attorneys, as well as being expert wordsmiths, need to be able to accurately understand the background science behind a patented invention. Particularly in the pharmaceutical sector, most trainee patent attorneys have a PhD.

    Whilst people with a 2:2 may still have this scientific knowledge, it won't set a good impression with the patent firms recruiting. Being honest with you, I don't know a singe trainee in the profession with a degree less than a 2:1 (including over 50 trainees). Now I am not saying it is impossible that you will find a trainee position with a patent firm with a 2:2 degree, I am just saying that the odds are stacked against you.

    You are correct however that trainee patent attorneys are not exclusively
    Oxbridge graduates. I am a UCL graduate (undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering) and I found a trainee position.

    I am sorry I can't give you any advice about the solicitor route, but if you have any questions about the patent attorney route, please let me know. Sorry if it seems like I am being an arse, I am just telling things to you as they are!
 
 
 
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