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I came to Allen & Overy from an unusual direction, having spent almost ten years in academia and another ten in academic publishing before converting to law and joining the firm in early 2015.

My initial studies were in physics and, armed with a PhD, I applied to join the ADL’s nascent team of Technical Patent Analysts, set up to assist the firm’s IP practices in their patent litigation work. While waiting to hear whether I had been successful, I was contacted by the ADL head, Jane Townsend, who convinced me that, having both scientific and legal training, I would be better suited to a role as a Legal Professional working on more general matters but with a focus on the tech-heavy cases the TPA team would handle.

Since then I have had the opportunity to do highly complex work of both kinds, on the one hand becoming intimately familiar with patents on pain medication, aerospace engineering documents and telecommunications standards, and learning the peculiarities of patent law, and on the other hand reviewing contracts and financial documents in large-scale banking and transactional matters. The technical team, rebranded as Science Analysts, has grown to include members with expertise spanning a broad range of sciences, and its practice has expanded to encompass non-contentious work on different types of IP. Allen & Overy is unique among global law firms in having in-house scientists, and the team’s novelty and potential is such that many members have been given the opportunity to visit other European and US offices to raise awareness of this, and other, innovative legal services offered by the ADL team.

A significant part of my recent work, which the ADL team is spearheading for the whole firm, is the recordal of transactions involving large, multi-jurisdictional trademark portfolios. Apart from the legal learning involved in keeping track of regulations in most of the world’s countries, my involvement in this has given me project and team management experience, vital client contact, the opportunity to contribute to the pitch process, and the beginnings of a profile within the firm.

I know of no other law firm that could have given someone with my background the opportunity to combine their interests and develop as a lawyer in the way Allen & Overy has done.