When was the last time you attended an ACS Local
section meeting? My last one provided a rich
storehouse of information, some introductions to
new contacts and a great chance to reconnect, in
The meeting was held at Emmanuel College
in Boston’s Fens district and had Dr. Christine
Bellon as the featured speaker offering her take
on what it is like move from chemical research
to her enjoyable career, now as vice president for
intellectual property and legal affairs for Hydra
There are some wonderful ACS workshops
on Careers in this field AFTB (away from the
bench), but they do not provide the insights
Christine shared. Some highlights of Dr. Bellon’s
remarks about her career were:
- at a law firm, you work at the behest of the
partners for clients and their products and interests.
This means if you are there at 3 pm on Friday and
a call or emergency comes in you are likely to
be working late and through the weekend.
Time is not your own, and time is measured
in “billable hours”, in 6 minute increments, for
on average about 2000 hours per year. “There
is an app for this!”
- no matter where you are, there is a lot of reading
and writing in the legal arena. One has to learn to
choose what to read and not read thoroughly, what
and how to express things in precise formulaic
logic. In fact, one of the smart things to do for
chemical professionals is work with your legal
experts. Have them read and assess patent
information in existing patents.
A hidden nugget that the legal arena is imbedded
in PCs and PC software that may not be the most
- the 3 year patent law school process is intensive
for becoming an attorney (it is slightly longer, 4
years, for part-time students). One of the biggest
hurdles is working with the patent office.
Others who attended this wonderful talk
probably learned many other notions.