Senior Scientific and Technical Analyst
The Scientific and Technical Analyst Team in Belfast is a group of PhD-qualified scientists, all from non-legal backgrounds, who sit within the litigation practice and support the global intellectual property (IP) team. There are six of us dealing with cases across the A&O network – working directly with partners, counsel, clients and experts to research the technical aspects of disputes.
I joined the firm five years ago after completing my PhD in chemistry. I was interested in moving outside of academia and wanted to make use of my scientific background. I’ve always had an interest in IP so when I found this unique team it was a perfect fit. Over the years I’ve received legal training and been able to attend the IP training on offer in the firm. A&O has also supported me towards getting legal qualifications, so I’ve learned a lot. There is no rigid career structure and we’re encouraged to develop our skills according to what interests us.
It’s great to be in a corporate environment and applying my knowledge of academia and research. The work I’m doing is not limited to chemistry – I’ve worked across matters relating to oncology, therapeutics, genetics and more. The team combines a wide range of backgrounds and specialisms and the work is really varied, so no two days are the same.
When I first joined Belfast, a lot of our work was with London, but over time we have been increasingly working with more of the European offices, and with the US. We have also now expanded to work on matters led by teams from across the wider litigation practice, including investigations and arbitration. We absolutely feel a part of the global IP practice, getting involved with their offsite events and visiting various offices. IP is a strategic growth area for the firm and there have been a number of key hires in the group in the US recently, so we continue to see more demand for our services. It is fascinating to see how litigation is run in different jurisdictions and work with a wide range of people.
Before the pandemic I spent six months on secondment with the London IP team, which was a good opportunity to work alongside the IP lawyers, attend a trial and join meetings with experts and counsel. I got a great perspective on how the department is run and how we can best provide support. We also work closely with the legaltech team and other elements of the advanced delivery offering, which feels like an exciting space to be in.
Primarily, I love working with such a range of intelligent and highly motivated people across the A&O business. Everyone is working to achieve the best for clients and is really driven – that creates a high-energy atmosphere that is great to be a part of.