Helen Johnstone

Helen Johnstone

Partner - Patent Attorney

What was your first ever job?   

Saturday shop assistant in a knitting shop. 

How did you get involved in intellectual property and what first attracted you to the field? 

I have always been interested in science and technology as well as the legal side of things. Whilst working at Marconi, I got to know the patent attorneys in the patents department there and realised I would really enjoy being a patent attorney because the job involves both technical and legal issues.   

When did you join Potter Clarkson and why? 

I joined Potter Clarkson in 2001. I was fully qualified at the time, with several years post-qualification experience. I was particularly attracted to the firm because it seemed to be very well organised with a good range of clients. 

What is your area of speciality and why did you choose it? 

I am a member of our designs and engineering team and I specialise in, among other things, medical devices. I chose this because of my degree in materials science and my interest in medical technology. 

What does a typical day in your role entail and what do you most enjoy about it/find most challenging? 

There is, quite literally, no typical day for me, which is one of the things I enjoy about the job. One day I can be in the office all day working on cases, and another I can be out visiting clients at their premises. The variety is refreshing. 

I have also recently taken on the role of training partner and I am a qualified mental health first aider, so some of my time is taken up with issues relating to training and wellbeing. 

What has been the highlight of your career at Potter Clarkson so far? 

Becoming qualified as a patent attorney litigator. 

What advice would you give anyone looking to enter the field? 

The job can be very demanding and requires a good eye for detail, so make sure you do your research before applying for a trainee position.