Members of our senior leaders’ diversity think tank, many of whom have already signed up to the IP Inclusive Senior Leaders’ Pledge, have publicly committed their organisations to improving access to the IP professions.

Their commitments came out of a meeting held on 23 November 2021 between the think tank and representatives of our Careers in Ideas task force. Focused on outreach and access, the meeting included updates on various Careers in Ideas projects and a keynote talk from Nicholas Cheffings, Chair of the PRIME Commitment. It identified projects on which think tank members could work together, and/or alongside Careers in Ideas, to welcome a wider range of recruits into IP sector careers.

The commitment has been signed by:

  • Robert Andrews (Partner and Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer, Mewburn Ellis)
  • Hsu Min Chung (Board Member, Office Head & Partner, HGF)
  • Richard Clegg (Board Member & Managing Partner, Mewburn Ellis)
  • Zoe Clyde-Watson (Partner & Diversity Officer, D Young & Co)
  • Catherine Coombes (Director, Patents, Murgitroyd)
  • Stuart Forrest (Partner, W P Thompson)
  • Mike Jennings (Partner, AA Thornton)
  • Catherine Jewell (Partner & Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Beck Greener)
  • Paul Lynch (Director, TLIP)
  • Alan MacDougall (Partner, Mathys & Squire)
  • Fiona McBride (Chair, Withers & Rogers)
  • Julie Millburn (Partner, Reddie & Grose)
  • Jim Pearson (Senior Partner, Abel + Imray)
  • Simon Rees (Partner & Global Head of Client Services, Haseltine Lake Kempner)
  • David Roberts (Partner, Page White and Farrer)
  • Gwilym Roberts (Chair, Kilburn & Strode)
  • Bobby Smithson (Partner, Appleyard Lees)
  • Vanessa Stainthorpe (Board Member, Office Head & Partner, HGF)
  • James Stones (Partner, Beck Greener)
  • Steven Suèr (Director, Patents, Murgitroyd)
  • Martin Terry (IP Director, Swindell & Pearson)
  • Alex Turnbull (Director, TLIP)

And here’s what they committed to (let us know if you and your organisation can do the same):


From our inaugural meeting of the senior leaders’ diversity think tank in 2020, we identified objectives for improving diversity and inclusion both within our own organisations and throughout the UK’s IP professions. Two of these were to:

  • Raise awareness of the patent and trade mark professions among a wider range of potential recruits, in particular those in currently under-represented groups
  • Widen access to the two professions through our recruitment processes and more creative onboarding and support schemes

In the Senior Leaders’ Pledge that we subsequently established – and which many of us have signed – we also included a commitment to “share our privileges”.

Building on our earlier commitments, we have identified specific practical measures for achieving these objectives. Each of us now pledges:

  1. To implement two or more of the measures identified below in our organisations
  2. In doing so:
    • To target specifically people who would not otherwise have had the opportunity to engage with the IP professions
    • To embrace a range of roles, both fee-earning and non-fee-earning
  3. Where appropriate, to work alongside IP Inclusive’s Careers in Ideas outreach campaign, which provides a mechanism for amplifying the efforts of our individual organisations to widen access to IP sector careers

We will aim to reach a broader range of recruits through, for example, relevant charities and community interest groups; the Careers in Ideas Mentoring Hub; and other “new” school, college and university contacts.


Specific practical measures

External engagement

  • Provide one or more work experience or internship opportunities a year
  • Provide one or more open days/taster days a year, at least partly virtual, with appropriate follow-up
  • Provide one or more school or university careers talks a year
  • Collaborate with other think tank members on a joint IP “summer school” or similar scheme
    • (This could take the form of a single centralised scheme or alternatively of coordinated activities in several separate organisations)
  • Lobby for the inclusion of IP modules in relevant university courses, eg through relevant accreditation bodies

Collaboration with Careers in Ideas (C in I)

  • Provide one or more mentors for the CinI Mentoring Hub
  • Make use of the generic CinI resources in our outreach work, and provide feedback and suggestions to the CinI team so that everyone in the IP professions can benefit
  • Help fund the CinI Mentoring Hub for another 6 months after its pilot from November 2021 to May 2022

Recruitment and access

  • Set targets for recruitment of people from certain under-represented groups, and monitor our progress towards those targets
  • Require external recruitment consultants to field more candidates from under-represented groups
  • Implement some form of “contextual recruitment” system
  • With HR colleagues, commit to implementing best practices in recruitment and staff development processes
  • Share relevant resources with others in the sector

Internal support measures

  • Involve all staff in outreach work, not just fee earners
  • Provide staff with time off to do outreach work
  • Take outreach work into account in staff appraisals



Page published on 18th February 2022
Page last modified on 18th February 2022
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