Class of 2021: Leaving the comfort zone
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Zoe Butler and Tess Waldron of Powell Gilbert feature on WIPR’s 2021 Influential Women in IP and Trailblazer lists, respectively. They discuss the main D&I issues confronting the sector and what should be done to tackle them.
What attracted you to the world of IP?
ZOE BUTLER: I started out my academic life convinced that I was destined for a career in science. Although my mother was a lawyer—specialising in family law—and my role-model, it wasn’t until I was part-way through my degree that my interest in law was piqued. I can still picture the moment my mother told me that she had read about this area of law called IP which seemed to offer the perfect combination of a legal career and an interest in science.
The appeal was immediate and, although I enjoyed the diversity of work during my training contract, I kept gravitating back to IP and, in particular, patent litigation. I loved the diversity of work, the international dimension to the work, and the increasing relevance and significance of IP to different industries.
TESS WALDRON: If I had to sum it up in one word, I’d say variety. I have always been fascinated by learning how things work and what they do. When I was a child, I loved science books that featured a different topic on each page, so that on one you’d learn about the solar system and about how fish breathe on the next.
Powell Gilbert, D&I, IP profession, ethnicity, disability, pandemic, COVID-19, mentoring, judiciary