From an illustrious, longstanding career as a patent attorney, and becoming President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys in the UK, to now leading the charge for stronger diversity and inclusion in IP.

In the latest podcast in our 'In Conversation with Gowling WLG' series, global IP partner Gordon Harris speaks with Andrea Brewster OBE, founder and lead executive officer of IP Inclusive – an organisation aimed at improving diversity and accessibility in the IP profession.

In this episode, Gordon and Andrea discuss:

  • the evolving DNA of the IP world, and how it is changing to become a more inclusive and accessible profession;
  • what more can be done to ensure the future of intellectual property continues to be rich in diversity, transparency and accountability;
  • the important work IP Inclusive is doing to foster and promote equality in the intellectual property community, and the positivity and collaboration Andrea is seeing in peers;
  • Andrea's route to the top of patents law and her impressive career as an attourney working on some of the biggest cases of recent times, and her role as President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys in the UK;
  • occasional feelings of imposter syndrome, and the importance of mental health awareness in the sector and beyond; and
  • Much more

Transcript

Gordon Harris: Good day and welcome to wherever in the world you may be watching or listening to this. My name is Gordon Harris from the Gowling WLG International Leadership team. Welcome to the latest in this series of conversations with leading figures in the IP world. My guest today Andrea Brewster has had an illustrious career as a patent attorney for many years, rising to become President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys in the UK in 2015. But around the same time she was instrumental in founding an organisation called IP Inclusive with the goal of improving diversity and accessibility in the IP profession. She is now the lead executive officer of IP Inclusive so welcome Andrea it is great to have you here today.

Andrea Brewster: Thank you for inviting me.

Gordon: Let us start at the beginning shall we. You studied natural sciences a STEM degree at university, how did that come about at the time you were doing that maybe not so many women were taking science degrees.

Andrea: That is right actually, yes. I got to making A-Level choices and I was torn really between languages and science but both my parents were language teachers and I figured languages I could probably acquire outside of school whereas science was going to require proper training and also there is an element isn't there in any teenager you have got to do something different to what your parents do.

Gordon: Oh yes.

Andrea: So I took up maths, chemistry and physics at A-Level there were very few girls particularly in the physics group. But we had some great teachers and a particularly encouraging chemistry teacher who persuaded me to go on and major on chemistry at university.

Gordon: Right.

Andrea: And no thanks to my own ambition which was pretty low I did end up at Cambridge and Gordon you know that is sort of a mixed blessing for me I have mixed feelings about it. But I had a great time at Cambridge and you know I got a good degree and I was lucky that I found a college where there were lots of people like me so state school educated, parents not very well off, on full grant. So you know I felt really comfortable there and had a great time but I have seen afterwards how that Cambridge label has sort of opened doors automatically perhaps and doors that I have not really had to press to hard against, I have no had to fight to prove myself it has just been assumed that that is good enough. So I have mixed feelings about what Cambridge did for me and my career and that is partly why social mobility is something I am particularly keen on.

Gordon: We will come back to that later. What happened to languages incidentally did you pick them up?

Andrea: Well I sort of kept them on for quite a while and I can still muddle by in French and German and of course that helped a lot because at the time becoming what was then known as a patent agent required language skills.

Gordon: Yes.

Andrea: Still does to an extent for the European patents. So you know it was still a good fit.

Gordon: Well maybe that handy blend sort of answers my next question really which is how did you make the jump then from having studied science at university into the world of IP?

Andrea: Yes jump is a good word. It was a leap of faith really. So there I am in my final year at Uni, absolutely no idea what I am going to do. Well there are two things I know that I am definitely not going to do. One of them is chartered accountancy because this is late 1980s so all the STEM graduates are being picked out by the Ernst & Youngs of this world and chartered accountancy is the new sexy career if you are a scientist, presumably because you are numerate and that was not really a...

Gordon: That is not a word that often gets used in conjunction with accountancy is it but you know there we are taking....right onwards.

Andrea: Perhaps they were looking for the wrong skillset. Anyway that was not for me I knew that. But I also knew that I was not destined to carry on in academia or do any kind of research because I loved the chemistry but when you put me in the lab it did not matter how closely I followed the instructions everything I made turned into a sort of brown gunk in the bottom of a flask and you know there would be helpful comments about now go and take a melting point from the fine white crystals you have produced and I used to have to go around the lab and borrow somebody else's fine white crystals to take a melting point or perhaps even better just borrow somebody else's melting point.

It was clear I was not going to end up there. I did what you are supposed to do and went to see a careers advisor and I got lucky there, there was someone who knew his stuff and he looked at my skillset, the languages, the communication and the science and said have you thought about becoming a patent agent which is what patent attorneys were called then. And I said what is a patent agent closely followed by actually what is a patent. Because you could go through three years of a science degree and not be told anything about patents.

Gordon: That is extraordinary isn't it?

Andrea: Yes I mean I think that is still happens in some cases now. So it was a shot in the dark but I gave it a try and it just worked really well, it was the dream career for me because you are kind of interpreting between different worlds the science, the business, the law you are an interpreter so that the language bit comes in.

So I was given this little sort of tatty leaflet with a few names and addresses of patent agent firms and I wrote off a few speculative applications and got a couple of interviews. The first interviewer asked me if I liked crosswords, I said no, he said well that is a shame because in his vast experience people who are good at patent agency were good at crosswords so that was the end of that. It is incredible isn't it? My second interviewer asked if I liked pasta because there was a nice Italian down the road, so we went for lunch.

Gordon: That is better.

Andrea: People did not know much about interviewing in those days.

Gordon: Clearly.

Andrea: But it worked out well I got on really well Mike Harrison, I joined him at Urquhart-Dykes & Lord down in London and the rest is history really.

Gordon: Indeed yes you have worked obviously in well-known reputed patent attorney firms for a number of years but then in around 2000 you took what is an even bigger step really we will use the word jump again, of getting involved with a start-up firm and you ended up giving your name to it. What prompted that move for you?

Andrea: Well you will see Gordon there is a bit of a pattern emerging here that most of my career is just sort of lucky happenstance. So Carol Greaves was someone that I have worked with at Mewburn Ellis, she moved on and set up her own practice and she got back in touch at a certain point and said look I have got too much work for one person now would you like to come and join me? It was not something I had been planning to do at all it was obviously risky compared to a salaried job but I just thought you know this feels right. I rated Carol very highly, it could be very exciting, it could acquire me new skills and it could give me the flexibility I needed because I had got a young family at the time. So I said yes and I remember Carol and her husband coming round for dinner one night and bringing with them a sort of box of provisions for their first employee. So you know sort of printer paper and staples, floppy disks remember those.

Gordon: Oh yes I do.

Andrea: So I had my supply of floppy disks and I was ready to start up and it proved to be a really good decision to make. This was in the autumn of 1999 that I joined forces with Carol, later the following year we actually went into partnership and formed Greaves Brewster. But at the time I was just an employee to see how it went and mid-December 1999 everybody getting ready for Christmas my husband got killed in a car crash. So you know suddenly the whole world falls apart I have got three children under five one of them actually only five months old and there I am. But Carol was there for me the whole way through and I had got myself a job through her that gave me the flexibility I needed to carry on working despite being a single parent, despite having all of that to deal with and Carol supported me and in many ways having the work kept me going. You know you need something outside of children in that kind of situation so yes it turned into a very lucky break.

Gordon: And obviously as you said presumably you needed additional flexibility as well which that arrangement was able to give you at an unimaginable time. So obviously Carol herself sadly passed away last year, you have moved on to other things but the firm remains so how would you sum up her contribution and legacy to that firm and its values.

Andrea: Carol just underpinned it. Carol was incredibly good at getting down to the things that really mattered. Both in the job and in life generally and it made her one of the best patent attorneys I have ever come across because she could get straight through all the detail, all the technical waffle and hone in on the few issues that were really important. And she could hone in on what important for the client to, so she could do a job that was never over engineered it was generally very quick and efficient, cost effective because she could get through to the issues that really mattered to them as a business.

But she was like that, you know everything about her own business was the same. So she knew it did not matter about having posh city centre offices, she started out working in her garage, I started out in my neighbours garage, we graduated to a couple of rooms above the video shop in the village, some of our listeners probably do not even know what a video shop is, but you know we had the rooms above it. So she knew that did not matter but she knew what did matter was that the people working in those two rooms above the video shop did a very professional job as a good as anything you would have got out of a city centre lawyer and she knew that it did not matter that we had difficult or complex policies and procedures so you know our first members agreement was one and a half sides long and cash flow was worked out with back of fag packet calculations and things.

So she knew that did not matter but what did matter was that the systems we had to support the fee earners were robust and sensible. So we had incredibly good systems for monitoring deadlines and filing, things that a patent attorney needs, we did not skimp on those things Carol got those right. And she also knew it was important that the people delivering the service were happy and looked after and this is the really important thing which you know has stayed with Greaves Brewster ever since and with me is that they were all equal. So that the person that put away your filing or emptied your bins was every bit as important as the fee earner that generated the invoices. And that continues to guide Greaves Brewster and the current team that are running it and that I think is Carol's legacy, the importance of the things that really matter.

Gordon: Yes, when you get great values in an institution they do underpin it don't they and secure the future of it and you need someone to lay that foundation and it sounds as though the two of you did that together, which is terrific. And also you have talked earlier about her commerciality and you know this is one the key things about patents isn't it. There are not a vanity project, it is a business asset and you have to keep that in mind as well don't you at all times.

Andrea: You do, I mean there is a tendency to think of patents in terms of law and technology. Understanding those is really only half the story, the other half is knowing how they are going to be used as commercial tools. And that the client cannot always afford to pay you to do a spanking legal or technical job and go into all details they just want answers.

Gordon: Yes. So after a number of years of service on the Council of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys you became President in 2015 which is the pinnacle of the profession in many ways. What was the most challenging thing about that role and what would you say was your proudest achievement of your presidential year?

Andrea: Challenges. So let us talked about imposter syndrome shall we? In fact let us talk about mental health as well while we are at it. For a lot of my life I have struggled with ups and downs and when I am in an up I think I can probably conquer world and when I am in a down it is acute anxiety and depression and a lot of this what has now been labelled as imposter syndrome. Feeling I am not good enough, I am not doing the job as well as other people would I do not deserve to be there, and sooner or later despite everything someone is going to find me out.

Now when you get into a leadership position, any leadership position there are bound to be people who criticise you or disagree with you, disapprove of you and of course patent attorneys are not renowned for their tact. So there were some nasty comments made and the people who are close to me know that some tears were shed, you know I did have some difficult moments. What did not help I think was I was a rather unconventional president in a lot of respect. I was younger than most, I was not in London, I was not from one of the old established firms, I was not male which was a bit of downer but you know you can get over that. I did not understand the Latin they used in the meeting minutes and anyway I wanted the meetings minutes to be shorter. So I had a kind of a bulldozing approach to getting down to the stuff that really mattered.

And I used to publish a not so secret diary which was a rather irreverent blog take on my time as a CIPA council member and that did not go down well with some people. It was hugely popular but some people thought it was undignified. So I was up against all of this and I did not have a difficult presidency in the sense that there were no big challenges like Brexit or Covid-19 but I think I did have to fight harder than many because I did not fit the usual mould. So those were the challenges and combine that with the fact that I was having to do quite a lot of travelling because I am based in Somerset and I am a natural introvert, I can do the big groups of people but it tires me out, I need time to myself to recharge and of course presidential duties can be quite draining in that respect. So when you say what is your proudest achievement, it is possibly just hanging in there for a whole year.

Gordon: Getting through it.

Andrea: There was more to it that that I genuinely feel that during my presidency I did build some relationships and bridges for CIPA where previously there might have been boundaries. I think historically the institute had been a little bit stand offish a little bit defensive. We became much better at collaborating with other IP sector organisations and sharing.

And something else I did which I am very proud of is I went out doing a meet the members campaign, so I went around the country and I visited as many as possible of the CIPA members in their own offices wherever they were, small and big, in-house and private sector. And it was exhausting but it was really good fun, people were so welcoming and I learnt such a lot about what they value about their CIPA membership and what CIPA needs to be better at. And I think that was a really important piece of work and I am proud I got through that.

Gordon: Hearing all that actually makes me think that really there is something of a legacy as well because I think the role has changed from what I now see to the way the role is done is more in line with what you have just described and may be went before. And also that business about collaboration, CIPA is now very collaborative with other organisations, I sit on the committee of the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association which is sort of an IP solicitors group and there is a lot of interaction between us and CIPA and CITMA and all the others. And especially over the last few years you can imagine how valuable that has been so you know you can look back with a bit of pride maybe on changing the direction in a way that has proved to be very helpful in a very difficult time.

Anyway we are getting to another bit now, 2015 a busy year for you, you were president of CIPA but also around that time you were helping to set up IP Inclusive. So let us start if I may with an outline of what IP Inclusive does, I think there will be listeners who are not really aware of what it is so this is your chance. What exactly is IP Inclusive?

Andrea: It is an initiative that is devoted to improving equality, diversity and inclusion and increasingly mental wellbeing in the intellectual property professions. So throughout the IP sector in the UK. IP Inclusive is not a thing as such it is just a sort of a banner under which lots of well-meaning volunteers get together and work together for that common cause and it has been great at bringing people together. There is some really important points about IP Inclusive, one is that it is patent professionals so it is for all of the IP professions not just patent and trademark attorneys which is my background but anyone who works in or with intellectual property.

But the other thing is you know the corollary of that is it is sector specific so it is very much tailored for the IP professions so it is a group of people who understand one another they are united not by the job they do but by the people they do it for so they understand one another's clients basis they understand one another's motivations and constraints. So IP Inclusive brings those people together and says OK what can we do as a group that will really benefit equality and diversity and inclusion in this space and that we know will work for the people in that space.

Gordon: So what was the driver, you know something must of triggered you to go down this path. What was the driver behind your idea that this organisation, what were you seeing or may be not seeing that led you to think that this was necessary step?

Andrea: Well in some ways it follows on from our previous discussion because other people drove this in the sense that I just convened a meeting when I was at CIPA to bring all the different IP sector organisations together to talk about diversity so this was the start of this collaborative process. And I thought well I will see what happens and in fact it seemed to touch a nerve because everyone that came, and lots of people came, were all very keen to progress the matter and those people in a sense drove it from then on.

But I think what had initially informed me was I think you are right it is the things we were not seeing that were the most important so we were not seeing a lot of non-white faces at IP sector events, we were not seeing women on speaker panels and in the board room, we were not seeing disabled people on the platform and I think importantly we were not seeing a recognition that that was an issue. So we had a lot of people in the profession who were very comfortable in their roles and I do not want to stereotype but a lot of them were white middle class males but people who were actually in relatively privileged positions who were saying well what exactly is the problem if we did not have diversity it is not our fault because we recruit on merit and if we did not get the right recruits then that is not our fault. And we did not mind recruiting good women when they turn up and a good white people when they turn up and we will treat them equally so what is all the fuss about.

And I think it was very difficult for say a white man at that time to know how it did feel to be the only woman in a room full of patent attorneys or the only black person in a room full of patent attorneys, you know unless you have actually experienced being part of an under represented group you do not necessarily know how hard it is. So I think the key thing about what was wrong at that stage was the people were not necessarily recognising that diversity and inclusion were issues.

Gordon: Yes, it screams out at you when you think about it doesn't it because you are just turning your back on a huge talent pool. I heard it said around that kind of time that in the IP profession as well as in the professions generally the search for trainees, the search for entrance into the profession ended up with partners looking for basically people who looked like their own children. And that they were not prepared to countenance the idea that there was something else out there and of course everyone claims that they are merit driven but of course how do you define merit and you know.

Andrea: That is the key issue, a meritocracy it may be but what criteria are you using to judge merit and inevitably people were looking in the mirror and saying well there is a good patent attorney so that is what the next one must look like.

Gordon: Exactly.

Andrea: I think people have got a lot more objective now.

Gordon: Yes this year there is sort of fascinating dynamic created by diversity, has just been missed out on hasn't it. So one of my previous guests in this series was Scott Roberts, president of IP Federation now he is a huge supporter of IP Inclusive as you know and carries its message to the in-house world of IP, do you have similar champions in the solicitors and patent attorney worlds and at the bar?

Andrea: I have got loads, I am so lucky, yes. I do not want to start naming them individually because we would never stop. I think what has been lovely is that you know the IP sector organisations like the IP Federation where Scott is president, they tend to have a rolling series of presidents selected from a volunteer pool and they change quite often. So what is really important is that we have support from the organisation itself and that that continues as presidents come and go. And we have been very lucky at IP Inclusive, we have had that from the key IP sector organisations. So there were the four founding organisations, CIPA, CITMA, FICPI-UK and IP Federation and they have been absolutely brilliant, they have supported from day one. But we have now got much more support from your own organisation the IPLA from the IP Bar Association from many more. And perhaps most important of all I think from the intellectual property office itself.

Gordon: Right.

Andrea: They have been extremely supportive, recognising I think that what we do to improve diversity and inclusion in the IP professions has a knock on effect to the UKs IP system as a whole and to the customers that use it. So it is very much in their interests that this work carries on, and they have supported us right from the start and that has leant extra credibility I think to our messages.

These people, all of them, too many to mention they have not just answered our requests for help, they have actually volunteered help, come up with ideas, put loads of energy and enthusiasm and time into it. And they have gone out and advocated for us elsewhere, you know that sort of active champion role and that has helped us widen our reach, it is great.

Gordon: Yes, that is so important isn't it? What could you point to may be that you are particularly proud of in IP Inclusive's achievements so far? Is there anything that you would say, I am absolutely thrilled we did that?

Andrea: I am pleased we have got our outreach initiative Careers In Ideas which is doing a lot of work to raise awareness of IP careers upstream, so in the schools and the universities because only a few you have more people aware that we are here will get a wider range of recruits coming in through the door. So I am very proud of that, but I think personally it is the networking and support communities that we have set up which have been really thrilling to watch. We have IP & Me for BAME professionals, we have IP Out for the LGBT+ community, we have got IP Ability for disabled people and carers, we have Women in IP and with IP Futures for early career IP professionals.

And all of those were set up by people in those groups, just coming to me and saying we will set this up, we will do it, we will run with it and they did and it has just been brilliant the way those communities have grown because they have become a safe space for lots of people who did not previously speak out but were looking for that safe haven, looking for a focus so that the first women in IP event they held it was literally standing room only, you know we had draft in extra chairs in the back of the room. The first IP Out event for the LGBT+ community was just amazing, it was incredibly colourful, lots of prosecco, everybody having a fantastic time. I have spoken to lots of people since who have said that before those groups were set up they did not really feel they had anywhere to go and now they do and that has been such an important part of making the IP sector more inclusive of starting conversations that people previously did not have, raising awareness about things.

And the other thing I am proud of on a more general level is several people have independently come up to me and said that they think of IP Inclusive now as part of the furniture in the IP landscape.

Gordon: Yes.

Andrea: And they cannot imagine an IP sector without IP Inclusive so...

Gordon: I was going to say just that. I mean you are on standing agendas now, see an agenda item on key organisation meetings, everyone knows about it, everyone takes it seriously and the benefits for the profession will be seen in the years to come. So what more do you want to achieve while you are still there at the organisation?

Andrea: I think it has been very ad-hoc IP Inclusive so far, it has been sort of like you know it is the Parent Teachers Association, it is just lots of individuals doing great stuff but with no resources and there is just me at the top pretending to the run the show and getting increasingly bogged down. So what we need to do is get ourselves on a better structural footing, a more sustainable footing for the future, get in a proper source of funding so that we know we can keep going and we know we can bring in some extra admin support because there is an awful lot of work needs doing now on communications and events organising and just general things like that.

So that is one thing we need to see happening and we want to see that in order to I think provide more support for our charter signatories, I would like to provide a lot more resources for them in terms of templates and off the shelf training that they can use at various points in an IP professionals career. So I would like to see a lot more support there. I would like to see a lot more work done on the awareness raising upstream I think there is still an awful lot we can do not just make more students aware of IP but actually help them access IP careers, particularly if they come from the less privileged backgrounds. So there is lot more work to do but the main thing is just to hold on to its key values which are primarily inclusivity. IP Inclusive is something that anyone can get involved with if they work in IP and it has to stay that way, it really does.

Gordon: Yes it is interesting isn't it? I think the professions are all geared up to recruit at university level but when I was in charge of our training recruitment programme many years ago now I took it down to the schools and we actually had school children come in. So before they made their university choices and I was trying to interest them in the law and aspects of the law at that stage. And I think you kind of almost have to do that because they have kind of committed by the time they choose a degree, I mean I know you can always go back and requalify but particularly for the patent attorney profession you really do need to have done a science degree so you have got to be encouraging that right down at that level haven't you.

Andrea: You do, yes I mean you think of my own career choices I could have so easily gone the language route at A-Level because I did not know that my ideal career was waiting for me down the road but needed a STEM degree.

Gordon: Exactly.

Andrea: So we are trying to do a lot of work in schools we are working with the Community and Trust Company national careers week which does a lot of careers advising in schools. We also work closely with the IPO who have their cracking ideas campaign to raise aware generally of IP amongst school children.

Gordon: So what are the biggest obstacles then facing your objectives? Are there any things that you would like to push out of the way or that could be fixed with a bit of a push from all sides?

Andrea: Well I think right now as I was saying earlier it is just time and the money to buy that time because we have got lots of willing volunteers that are very enthusiastic, lots of ideas but they have got day jobs as well all these people. So they need a bit of back up that is there at the IP Inclusive end with the administration, the communications, the organisation so what we really lack at the moment is just the money to be able to buy in a little bit of extra help.

Gordon: You want to create a small secretariat don't you really?

Andrea: I think we do I think we have grown big enough that unless we have that we will not be able to continue on the current trajectory which everybody tells us they have got confidence in.

Gordon: Yes.

Andrea: But we need to deliver on that.

Gordon: Well I hope people listening to this, maybe one or two people might put their hands in their pockets, you never know who is listening, or what they do.

Andrea: I hope so.

Gordon: On that subject of who listens to this the audience for these podcasts appears to be international in scope. So do you think there is any scope for the internationalisation of IP Inclusive's activities, there might be someone listening out there who is interested in doing something in their own country? Would you have a message for them?

Andrea: It is interesting that you should say that because in the last year I have had a lot of contact from IP professionals outside the UK. Either saying can we get involved in IP Inclusive directly or can we set up something similar in our country. Now because we are so short of resources we have had to limit what we do here to UK based IP professionals so we are not trying to go any more than that. But what I do say to these people is well find out what you can about IP Inclusive and by all means try and roll out a similar model in your country and we will help you where we can. There does not seem to anything equivalent elsewhere particularly not one that is very much focused on IP specifically.

Gordon: You can think of a number of countries where that could be helpful. We just need some passionate supporters to get a hold of it in those places.

Andrea: Yes and I think it would be more of a challenge in those countries. But later in the year we are going to hold an event where we invite all these professionals from other countries to hear a bit more about what IP Inclusive does and may be join some breakout sessions to talk through the ideas about what they might take back to their own countries, what would work and what would not and I am sure we can learn stuff from them as well.

Gordon: I will certainly look forward to that.

Andrea: Looking forward to that yes.

Gordon: Yes. So what is your overall message then to IP community what would you like the IP professions to do now actively to help IP Inclusive in the pursuit of the charter goals.

Andrea: Raise awareness, just make sure that all your colleagues, all your staff know about IP Inclusive and make the most of it and get involved where they can. Yes hands in pockets is going to become important in the next 12 months so have a look at your corporate priorities and see if there is room in the budget for supporting a good cause like this. But I think the main message is, hang on in there, let us hold on to this we have done such a lot and we have all done it together and it has these unique qualities because it is pan-professional but specific to IP. There is an awful lot going for this movement so let us make the most of that let us build on it together.

Gordon: So what about you? You have faced a lot of challenges on a personal level and professional level over the years. What goals do you personally have now after such a successful and wide ranging career so far, do you look out into the future and think oh yes there is things I still want to do?

Andrea: I think we have established Gordon that my career so far has been just a series of lucky opportunities and I have made the most of them but I have never planned ahead career wise. A bit of an admission here really but I have never thought of myself as having a career that I want to plan. The career has more been a vehicle to allow me to do the job that I enjoy which is possibly not the right way round but it has enabled me to look at each individual opportunity in terms of would this be good fun, what could I from this and then take it regardless.

I do not have any set plans is the honest answer certainly not now as I get old and grey. But the great thing about being old and grey is if you had imposter syndrome it starts to wear off a bit because the higher up you go the more you realise that there are lots of other people who do not deserve to be there either. And so I am at least as good as them, I understand my strengths and my weaknesses now and I can work to those but I think I have earned my place now so whatever I do next hopefully I will do it with a bit of confidence and hopefully that will centre around continuing the fight for diversity and inclusion.

Gordon: That is terrific. It is funny you say, my father came out of the army after the war and did not go into university or anything he just went into industry and he said his whole career was spent looking upwards at the board and going I want to be there and then he got there and he looked around him and thought what a bunch of idiots.

Andrea: Yes, I would not go quite that far because obviously, for obvious reasons it might be slanderous but there is that element of you are in awe of the people at the top and you think you could not possibly be one of their number and then when you get there for whatever reason you realise it is just a bunch of ordinary people just like you and they are all doing their best to greater or lesser effect. Most of them are still learning, I am still learning and I hope I do carry on questioning my ability to do what I am doing and my worth because that is what makes you improve.

Gordon: Well that is the way you stretch yourself isn't it?

Andrea: Yes.

Gordon: Many thanks Andrea. Can I just say how much I personally support the work of IP Inclusive and will continue to support it and try to encourage it through my own firm and through IPLA as well.

Andrea: Thank you.

Gordon: There has always been a tendency for law firms, patent attorneys alike to use a very old fashioned recruitment process that does produce clones, if you like. So until that cycle is properly broken the profession will be missing out on a lot of great talent so keep up the great work and I hope some of our listeners will be prompted to offer some, how can I put it, material support to you. But thank you very much Andrea, thank you for your time and your insights today.

Andrea: Thank you for the opportunity, it has been great fun.

Gordon: I will be back soon with another subject but in the meantime thanks to our listeners for your very kind attention and I hope you have enjoyed todays conversation. Thank you all and thank you again Andrea.

Andrea: Goodbye

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