Careers

Collaborate with inspiring people

 

Current Vacancies

When we’re looking to fill a specific position, we’ll put a job description below – but we’re always interested in hearing from attorneys who are qualified or part-qualified in technical areas.

You can send any recruitment questions to recruitment@potterclarkson.com and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.

We’re based in Nottingham in the East Midlands. If you’re not from around here, allow us to tell you why it’s a great place to live and work. You can also read some first-hand stories from Potter Clarkson colleagues to find out what it’s like working with us.

 

Why POTTER CLARKSON?

If you wish to be associated with one of Europe’s leading full-service IP law firms, then Potter Clarkson is an obvious choice.

Potter Clarkson first began trading in Nottingham in 1889, where the firm’s top-tier credentials were established. We now also have offices in London, Stockholm and Copenhagen as well as hubs in Munich and Lund. Further details of all our offices can be viewed here.
 
Although Potter Clarkson is one of the oldest intellectual property firms in Europe, we are a very modern firm, thriving on the latest technology and working methods. With an enviable reputation for successfully handling some of the most complex and challenging patent and trade mark cases, we’ve been recognised as a top-tier firm by several leading industry publications due to the quality of our work and the significant contribution of our practitioners to the field of IP. We work with clients around the world across a variety of industries. Our work is complex and challenging and we are obsessed with quality - it is what our clients rightly expect and require.  It’s in our very genes!

Under dynamic and agile leadership, we are presently expanding rapidly with a 20% increase in turnover in 2018 and a headcount now of over 200. Success breeds success.  

With offices in the UK and Europe and with solid global connections, we will endeavour to find a location that suits you.

Work/life balance is particularly important to us. We recognise individual needs and don’t subscribe to a ‘one size fits all’ mentality.  This is why we introduced bespoke career plans, flexi and remote working policies, a smart-casual dress code, buying and selling of holidays, sports and social clubs and a bonus scheme.

We believe strongly in a supportive team structure. Training is an essential part of any career and we are proud of our reputation for excellent training.  Our goal is to help you be the best in your chosen field by supporting and assisting you in your ambitions.  This in turn, ensures we have the best people in the field to continue taking the firm forward.

So, if you want to be inspired, supported and challenged in your career, then please get in touch. We are always looking for talented individuals to join our highly collaborative and friendly firm.
 

 

Careers Stories

  • Fiona Hey
  • Saiful Khan
  • Helen Johnstone
  • Richard Wells
  • Sara Holland

Fiona Hey

From a post-doc with eight years’ experience to a new profession in patents

As a post-doc with eight years’ experience, the thought of starting in a new profession from square one was daunting, but after doing more westerns than John Wayne (western blots to those not familiar with biological research), I decided to leave the lab bench. My degree was in Biochemistry, and I went on to achieve a PhD, both at the University of Nottingham. I then undertook five years’ postdoctoral research on a Cancer Research UK-funded project at the University of Leicester. Whilst working on such a project can be satisfying, advancing through academia and achieving a permanent position is notoriously challenging.
 
I knew I wanted to stay in touch with biological research and enjoyed scientific writing, so a career in intellectual property seemed like it would tick all of the boxes. I was able to get some work experience with an in-house team for a large pharmaceutical company. This provided a valuable insight into the day to day life of a patent attorney, and I was confident I would enjoy working in the profession.
 
Since my first day at Potter Clarkson, I have been exposed to a wide variety of scientific topics, much more so than as an academic scientist. Another bonus is that every day I get to look at research that actually worked!
 
My first 12 months has been spent working on real cases under the supervision of a partner. In one week, topics can vary from probiotics to small-molecule drugs to protein engineering. There is no time to master the scientific field of every case, but that is why analytical skills are key. If I have questions, or need guidance there is always someone to ask, whether it be my supervising partner, or a knowledgeable associate or fellow trainee.
 
A typical day entails… well there isn’t really a typical day. The variety of technologies and types of work we are involved in, including prosecution in countries all over the world and enforcing/challenging IP rights, means no two days are ever the same. The great thing about a career as a patent attorney is that every day is like a school day, there is always something more to learn either scientifically or legally.
 
There are a number of exams that need to be passed in order to become qualified. Potter Clarkson is hugely supportive of trainees and I am currently attending a number of in-house tutorials run by a partner or senior associate – all of whom have been through the process! I will also attend a number of residential courses which will help me to prepare for my exams in October.
 
Potter Clarkson is also a very sociable firm, and there are lots of opportunities to get involved in social events, whether it be the office away-day or regular post-work drinks. The large number of trainees under one roof is definitely a positive from both a support and a social perspective.
 

Saiful Khan

From qualified positions in London-based private practice and industry …

Having worked in a range of fields and environments before joining Potter Clarkson - in engineering and intellectual property, in industry and private practice, both within and outside London - it would be fair to say that my varied background has provided me with the opportunity to experience life from many different perspectives.

I have always looked for a working environment that is friendly, progressive, supportive and focussed, and have certainly found this at Potter Clarkson. For me, it is also important to strike that elusive "work-life balance". I believe I have succeeded in doing so here, and long may it continue! In fact, there is a general recognition at Potter Clarkson that "wellbeing" is of utmost importance, and a focus on this is ingrained into the firm's ethos.

Of course, as in any professional environment, work can occasionally be stressful. Working life in our profession, particularly in private practice, can often be a solitary affair in which you are buried under a pile of paperwork. But here at Potter Clarkson, there are formally and informally organised opportunities to socialise with colleagues, both during and outside working hours. I have found it refreshing to be encouraged to get out from behind my desk and meet my colleagues in a relaxed environment.

I have particularly enjoyed the regular opportunities to travel overseas, and not just for oral proceedings! As you progress, you can also become a member of an internal committee to help the running of the firm. You are encouraged and supported to participate in CIPA activities, and in numerous business development activities.

There is a positive emphasis on training at Potter Clarkson and the fantastic exam results over the years have reflected this. There is also an increasing focus on teamwork, which I think can only improve the cohesiveness of a firm as large as this one.

I have said much about working here. Well, what about living in and around Nottingham? I would say that if you are looking for comparatively affordable housing in a picturesque, safe (despite what the press may say!) environment, then Nottingham and its surrounding areas offer a wide variety of choice. I am now fortunate enough to live in a lovely green, quiet area where birdsong greets me as I leave for work each morning and arrive back home in the evening. There is also a range of stylish accommodation available within the city if urban life is more to your suiting. For me, first class education for my young children is a priority. We have found this locally, and this hasn't, at least as yet, required the payment of school fees. Shopping is also one of Nottingham's fortes (hence the tag "Shoppingham") with an abundance of choice in the city centre and further afield.

At Potter Clarkson, as with any private practice firm, you need to prove yourself. However, in my experience, if you do prove yourself, promotion can be quick. I particularly value the professional focus throughout the firm, and have welcomed the autonomy, freedom and support to develop my practice area. No place is perfect, and not everyone's perception or experience will be the same, but I would say that Potter Clarkson provides a rewarding, positive environment in which you can feel comfortable and be yourself. I also think that we are fortunate to have a comparatively young and mixed partnership, which is well positioned to steer the firm through a dynamic, ever-changing business environment.

Helen Johnstone

From qualified positions in private practice and industry …

I joined Potter Clarkson in January 2001 having previously worked both in private practice and industry.

Potter Clarkson is a well run organisation in which many management functions are handled by professional managers, leaving attorneys to concentrate on intellectual property issues for their clients. Nevertheless there are numerous opportunities to become involved in other areas such as business development both in the UK and elsewhere.

The friendly atmosphere within the firm, and the team approach taken where appropriate, are refreshing and contribute to an efficient working environment.

It's great to be part of a firm that takes training and continuing professional development seriously, for example by having monthly meetings during which relevant issues may be raised and discussed, and running in house tutorials for trainees.

Richard Wells

I joined the Biotechnology group at Potter Clarkson almost two years ago. …

At undergraduate degree level I studied Biological Sciences at Warwick University, and following that I obtained a PhD in Developmental Genetics at Sheffield University.

After having worked in the relaxed environment of academia I was concerned that working in an office, in a suit, would be an unwelcome change. However, Potter Clarkson is not the “stuffy” office that you might expect in a law firm. Since day one everyone has been very welcoming, which has made the transition easy.

Unlike many patent firms, Potter Clarkson has all the technology groups in one location. This has provided me with opportunities to work on cases in a number of fields, for example textiles; chemistry; product packaging; and, of course, biotechnology. Whilst working on cases directed to various technologies was daunting at first, it has provided me with the confidence to take on any challenge placed in front of me, and has meant that I have developed skills not limited to my specialised technology field. Also, the majority of attorneys within the firm operate an “open-door” policy which means that, if needed, help is never hard to find.

It is no secret that the exams you need to pass to become a qualified patent attorney (for both the UK and Europe) are difficult. However, Potter Clarkson has provided me with a supportive environment in which to train. The training starts with tutorials with a qualified attorney months before the exams, and continues with paid-for residential study courses. The company also allows you to take the day of the exam off as well as an additional study day for each exam you have to take, which means that you don’t have to use your own holiday in order to sit the exams.

Lastly, Potter Clarkson is a very social company, which helps you settle into your new job, and life in Nottingham. The social calendar includes a yearly summer work outing and Christmas party. There are also chances to mix with other colleagues in the firm with informal weekly lunches, Friday pub-trips, and five-a-side football.

Sara Holland

Scientist training as a patent attorney

I have always been a scientist, always with the ‘why why whys’, and probably drove my parents bonkers. After a random exchange with Children’s TV presenter Johnny Ball, I decided to study Biochemistry and Genetics at university, rather than astrophysics. I went on to achieve a PhD and undertook seven years postdoctoral research, all at the University of Nottingham. After letting myself accept that I didn’t actually enjoy lab work and maybe spending the rest of my life chasing the few experiments that actually worked was a bad idea, I set out to find something that would allow me to do all the things I enjoyed and was good at (without the lab work).

I can honestly say that I feel more like a scientist now that I am training as a patent attorney than I did as a postdoc. I am constantly using my brain, coming up with ideas, being creative and learning new things, not only the legal aspects but also cutting edge science that I would never have encountered had I stayed focused in my narrow area of research. I consider myself very lucky to work at Potter Clarkson. We are a big firm with about 14 trainees, and whilst I do undertake some work that doesn’t particularly fit with my background, we have a large and supportive biotech department, and so I can use my background to its full extent.

When I was considering a career as a patent attorney I wasn’t sure how ‘family friendly’ it is as a profession, which is important to me as not only am I on the older end of the new trainee scale (started when I was 34), I also have a five year old daughter. I am pleased to say that I’m finding it very ‘family friendly’ so far. I work regular ‘normal’ hours and have a shorter lunch break so I can pick up my daughter slightly earlier. I’ll admit that I was nervous about fitting in exam revision around looking after her, especially as everyone tells you that the exams are tough, which they are, but in reality they are actually only exams, like all the exams you’ve ever done before. So, please don’t let the exams put you off considering this as a career – they are things you just have to do and you can do them!

At Potter Clarkson we get a lot of support when it comes to exams. We have in-house tutorials, and attend residential courses in preparation for the exams. We also have time off per exam (on top of the day of the exam) for revision.

There is quite an active social life, both within Potter Clarkson and the CIPA Informals – all of which you can be involved with to the extent you choose. I am the East Midlands CIPA Informals social rep and we try to meet up every couple of months or so, which is particularly useful if, unlike me, you are from a small firm with no other trainees to chat to! Equally, it’s not a big deal if you don’t take up the chance to go out after work with colleagues (which is a good job when you’ve got kids!).