A couple of weeks out of the office – first, running the 5th annual outing of the UCL IP transactions course, then taking the IP Matriarch for a few days’ holiday in the West Country – has left IP Draughts in a reflective mood about the IP profession that he has worked with for the last 30+ years.
This year, the IP transactions course had about 30 speakers and 36 students, which could be viewed as nearly a 1:1 ratio of students to teachers. The quality of both teachers and students has been excellent, and the well-designed facilities at this year’s course venue – UCL’s Chandler House – helped to put everyone into a suitable frame of mind for learning. It is easy to foresee that many of the students will be teachers on a similar course, if not this one, in 20 years’ time.
Every profession has people who are more or less diligent and able, more or less willing to train others and be trained, and more or less straightforward and pleasant to deal with. IP Draughts’ experience is that, on the whole, IP is a good area in which to practise, with a high proportion of good people.
It is not just his experience with the IP transactions course that leads IP Draughts to this conclusion. He also has experience of working with IP lawyers on the Law Society’s IP Law Committee, and has found them to have a similar outlook to the people on the course. IP lawyers tend to focus on the task at hand, have high professional standards, be reasonable in their personal dealings, and if there is a problem they try to fix it with what IP Draughts thinks of as an engineering-mindset. Through his work in the Law Society he has learnt about how some of its other committees and Boards operate, and he has been surprised at some of the stories he has heard.
Another anecdote adds to this impression. IP Draughts was sat next to a very senior (current) judge recently, and the judge commented that if one could deal with IP cases one could deal with any other type of case. IP Draughts is still mulling over what the comment meant, but he takes from it a sense that many aspects of life, law and complexity can be found in disputes over IP.
IP lawyers are not perfect, and there are times when IP Draughts finds them frustrating – pedantic, too focused on legal minutiae, overly-competitive, overly-confident or all of the above. But similar criticisms could be made of other types of professional. Aspiring lawyers could do much worse than choose IP as their area of professional practice.