No two days are ever alike for trade mark partner Caroline Brooks. But whether she is meeting new clients or managing a team of attorneys, she always arms herself with the latest IP developments – and plenty of tea.
I never know exactly how I'm going to end up spending my day. Often I arrive at work with a handful of jobs in mind. But it takes just one email, letter or phone call first thing to change everything. That’s why I always make sure I’ve got a cup of tea in front of me before I begin tackling my inbox.
I work part-time. So depending on whether I was in the day before or not, I can have quite a few emails and case updates to look through first thing. Although I’m often pleased to discover somebody in our Bath and Cardiff Trade Marks Team – that I head up – has been making progress on a case while I’ve been gone.
Once I’ve got my emails under control, I turn my attention to the incoming post folder on our document management system. It shows me upcoming case deadlines, which helps me prioritise my jobs for the day. And, if I’m lucky, someone will have popped the kettle on in the meantime.
Some mornings I go on to review drafts that my team has prepared. Other days I approve charges. In between, I might need to speak with colleagues or a client on the phone.
There’s always a steady stream of incoming official correspondence relating to the trade mark applications my team’s responsible for. I take some time to consider an official objection on a particular mark and how to report that back to the client – or to prepare arguments for filing at the UK IPO if I’ve been instructed to do that.
My role and the nature of my work means it’s rare that I spend more than an hour on any one task – unless I’m mid-way through hearing preparation or dealing with a complicated, contentious matter. So throughout the day I find myself weighing up what to do next to keep everyone – from my team to our clients – happy.
I join in with a lunchtime webinar. We have information sessions like these quite often, each one focussing on a different topic aspect of IP law. They keep me up to date with what’s new – as well as making sure I’m meeting the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys’ CPD requirements.
If there’s no webinar and I happen to be free, I’ll step out of the office and wander around the shops in Bath. And on a Friday, I join people heading out into town for lunch.
Equipped with yet more afternoon tea, I get back to the next item on my long ‘to do’ list. That might see me instructing an overseas attorney or drafting a cease and desist letter, examining the results of a trade mark watch or devising a trade mark filing strategy.
I’m a Partner at Abel + Imray. So I split my time between working on client cases and supporting my colleagues, doing things like preparing training.
It doesn’t happen every day, but today I go out to meet new clients. It’s nice to have a break from the office and add even more variety to my day. Plus I always think it’s useful to meet in person. That way, we can each put faces to names and I can get a feel for the client’s business.
Just as I predicted, I haven’t quite managed to fit everything in that I’d planned to when the day began. So before it’s over, I jot down some notes to remind myself what to do when I’m next in.
"One of my favourite things about my job is how there’s no such thing as a ‘typical day'."