Esther Withey

Esther has been working as part of a group of secretaries in Swindell & Pearson's tech group since November 2017.

I chose to work here because, although I had very little knowledge about intellectual property, I thought that both the location and the skill set required suited me. This has absolutely been proven to be the case. I love living in Derby, and enjoy performing a variety of admin tasks to help support the fee earners in creating and processing patent applications.

The interview gave me confidence that I was coming to the right place to work. I was given a short typing test to complete, but it was made clear to me that whilst I was to be timed, the most important aspect was accuracy – something that has carried through to the job itself. We then discussed what sort of roles the job would entail (such as typing out dictations and other secretarial duties) and the skills I would be required to have (such as a keen eye for detail and the ability to manage a heavy workload). It was stressed, however, that the most important thing I needed to bring with me was a willingness to work as part of a team.

The job itself consists of a huge variety of different tasks. The first job in the morning is usually processing any emails that the fee earner might have received the night before. There’s then filing to be taken care of, as well as working from the typing table where fee earners put any work that they need doing in the day. The exact work they give us varies a lot and can include typing emails, creating invoices, monitoring deadlines, and filing new applications at patent offices.

Accuracy is key with any work we produce. This means that it’s vital to proofread what I’ve written to make sure that my work is of a standard that’s able to go out to a client. We’re also usually working to tight deadlines, meaning that it’s important to be organised and able to work well to time. This might sound daunting, but we work collaboratively and there’s always someone willing to answer questions or help share the workload. It’s a great environment to work in.

Although I’ve now been in the role for nearly two years, I’m still finding that there’s a lot I have to learn! Full one-on-one training is given whenever I encounter a new task and it’s always ensured that I’m fully confident before moving on. There’s plenty of encouragement and I’m never afraid to ask for help if there’s something I’m not sure of.

We take time to socialise outside of the office too. We’ve had team meals, cinema trips, and there’s currently a netball tournament that people from across the whole firm are taking part in! Whilst the job can be hard work at times, there’s always someone to share a laugh with – I hope to work here for many years to come.