Leigh Veldeman

Leigh has worked at Swindell & Pearson since 2002, undertaking various administrative roles along his journey to becoming the intellectual property (IP) manager. In his role as IP manager, Leigh leads Swindell & Pearson’s IP support team, and also oversees the firm’s information and communication technologies (ICT).

I joined Swindell & Pearson in 2002 as an office junior, having just completed my A levels at college. At the time I wasn’t entirely sure on my career path, and opted to gain some work experience, before deciding if I wanted to go off to study further at university. As soon as I joined, I was able to study business administration as an NVQ apprenticeship, instantly highlighting to me that Swindell & Pearson was supportive of the development of its employees.

In my first year with Swindell & Pearson, an opportunity arose to gain progression, and I became a technical IP administrator. I became involved in a project to implement a new case management software system, Inprotech. This was the perfect opportunity for me as I was able to put my ICT skills to good use and gain further work experience. The variety of the role meant I was responsible for dealing with first line ICT support issues, working on ICT projects, and working alongside my colleagues in IP support to carry out the day-to-day records and formalities tasks.

In 2012, I became the IP manager which sees me lead Swindell & Pearson’s excellent IP support team while also overseeing the firm’s ICT strategies. Our IP support team has a wide variety of tasks and responsibilities, from maintaining our clients’ case records on our case management software, keeping our clients appraised on the prosecution of their patent, trade mark and design applications, through to maintaining registered rights by monitoring and processing renewals. We have implemented very robust internal systems and procedures which ensure that our clients’ IP rights are in safe hands. My team takes great pride in offering a friendly, high level of service to everyone we get the opportunity to work with.

Along my journey I have received great support from my peers, attorneys and directors within the firm, who have all provided me with an exceptional level of training, and still continue to do so. I consider myself fortunate to have received the level of training I have during my career at Swindell & Pearson. I have received training from highly skilled patent and trade mark attorneys who always have an “open door” if I need any guidance. This is something I have reciprocated in the training that I provide to the members of my team, to ensure that our clients experience the same high level of service regardless of whether they are dealing with a senior attorney or an apprentice IP administrator.

Swindell & Pearson has supported me in obtaining specific IP qualifications. I am a qualified CITMA trade mark paralegal and a qualified CIPA patent paralegal. I continue to receive training by way of monthly CPD, and I am also mentored by a senior IP director. In addition to this I am a member of a number of the committees in the firm which work under the directive of the board.

The members of my team get to work closely with everyone within Swindell & Pearson, while also enjoying regular interaction directly with our clients and foreign associates. We all have a keen eye for detail, with good organisation and time management skills. The training we provide can help maximise the potential of these skills and this is evidenced by the progression achieved by previous members of the IP support team who have gone on to become fully qualified trade mark attorneys for Swindell & Pearson.

From my own personal experience of working at Swindell & Pearson, as well as witnessing the progress of many other employees of the firm, it is clear to see that working hard and producing high quality work is rewarded by the opportunity for career progression.