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From work experience to training contract – Emily Read, Associate
WAB would not be the place it is without our people. In WABChats, we talk to some of our team and find out more about the people behind the firm. Whether they’re giving expert advice to clients or running essential business services, our team members’ varied backgrounds, skills and expertise make WAB what it is.
In this week’s WABChat, we talk to Associate Emily Read who has been with White & Black since beginning her Training Contract.
How did you end up with a career in law?
My mum’s dad had been a lawyer so I was always aware of it as a career choice although up until the age of 11 I wanted to be a vet (until I realised that that would mean I would possibly have to put animals down…). When it came to discussing career choices at school, again, the law came up – but I loved Latin and Ancient Greek so I wanted to continue with them and decided to study Classics at University. I knew that I could always do a conversion course to law at a later date should I want to, so never felt like I had to make that decision at University level.
During University, I thought about my career and what I had enjoyed while studying, which included things like formulating arguments (for essays and my final year dissertation etc.) as well as researching different and varied topics; and working in team environments whilst building relationships with all sorts of people. I think this realisation, along with some work experience at the Greek Ministry of Culture and Civilisation/ Acropolis Museum, which gave me great insight into art and IP law, meant that by my final year at university I had a pretty good idea that the law was for me.
After university, I went straight into studying for the GDL. Between finishing the GDL and starting the LPC I did some full-time work, internships and work experience which really helped my rule out areas of law that I didn’t enjoy as much! One of these work experience placements was with WAB! I loved it and having completed my LPC and applying for a training contract, well the rest is history…!
What excites you most about WAB?
I think for me it’s 3-fold:
Firstly, the people – working with such a friendly, supportive and close-knit team is brilliant – I’ve learnt directly from the partners throughout my training and I’m working directly with the partners as an associate. It’s something I think is actually really rare.
Second, is the work – being involved in a high calibre of work and interesting cases that deal with a wide range of IPRs. This makes the work really enjoyable and varied, as well as the clients you deal with and Counsel.
And then lastly, tied in with my first point, it’s the culture and structure of the firm – a smaller intake of trainees means I was afforded a higher level of responsibility from the beginning this made transitioning to Associate level much easier, it also meant, as I said earlier, that my training came directly from the partners, which I know is not the same in most other firms. Everyone at WAB is treated as an integral part of the team… even if they are maybe only joining us for a short period of time e.g. as a paralegal or a secondee.
Are there any cases that you have particularly enjoyed working on recently?
I really enjoy the copyright and trademark work that I have been involved with. Specifically, I have really enjoyed working with Blenheim Palace – advising on various trade mark licence agreements including collaborations with very cool, local businesses.
What I love about contractual work is doing a real delve into the client’s business and getting to know it as well as I can. It is important to understand: a) the business as it currently is; b) the opportunities, growth and development open to it; and c) the ongoing market trends that may affect the client. This commercial awareness and deep understanding of our client’s business is so important in providing the best advice we can, thinking ahead commercially and at times slightly outside the box is something WAB really encourages and teaches. I have also enjoyed working with people from across businesses include the marketing team, in-house counsel, the technology team.
What would be your one piece of advice for a start-up or SME setting out to protect its IP?
NOT TO SKIP THIS STEP AND ENSURE IT IS A PRIORITY!
Be proactive and protect. Every business that uses a name, brand or logo should be considering trademark protection and potentially other IPRs (e.g if a business is innovating new products or processes, then patent protection will also be needed).
It sounds obvious but it’s definitely best to consider IP protection before a business is launched – if you consider this early on, it will help ensure that you are not accidentally infringing the trademark of another business as well as prevent other businesses from infringing your own.
IP disputes seem to be everywhere. Is there a particular case that’s been big news that we might find interesting to read more about?
It is not a specific case or article, but a trend I’ve found interesting that has been raised a few times, including on a recent webinar I attended – is ‘social media in litigation’.
We are now seeing more cases where parties are engaging with each other on public platforms, twitter for example, perhaps not through their own legal advisors. This obviously results in a very public interplay between parties, with the general public taking sides. We saw this with Colin the Caterpillar vs. Cuthbert and their interactions on social media. Even when the case was settled, Aldi posted ‘Getting out early on good behaviour, keep an eye out for Cuthy B this Spring…’. . Aldi were also in another dispute with M&S over a line of gin and said on their social media page: ‘our lawyers will be so rich they will soon be shopping at M&S’.
I’ll be really interested to see how this phenomenon develops. Developments in social media seem to move so quickly, and I think lawyers will increasingly need be factoring in social media, and particularly how their clients are using it, in their preparation and delivery of advice around litigation.
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Disclaimer: This article is produced for and on behalf of White & Black Limited, which is a limited liability company registered in England and Wales with registered number 06436665. It is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The contents of this article should be viewed as opinion and general guidance, and should not be treated as legal advice.