Catherine Boxhall

STEMM Profile: Catherine Boxhall | Intellectual Property Lawyer | DibbsBarker | Sydney | NSW

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Catherine Boxhall [Image: DibbsBarker]

“I like to understand things – we are incredible creatures that live in a mind-blowingly amazing universe and science helps us in part to understand that.  I love that science helps us to care for ourselves and our planet…”

Catherine Boxhall is a senior lawyer in DibbsBarker’s intellectual property and technology practice, working closely with research institutions, start-up companies, investors and large global companies.

The focus of Catherine’s work involves research collaboration and commercialisation at the cutting edge of biotechnology and medical devices, as well as in agri-tech and IT.  It is an exciting field, where discoveries made by creative scientists and engineers are brought to make a difference in helping the way people live.

Catherine’s path to combining her love of science and law begins from an interest early in her education. She combined her law studies at Flinders University with a major in biology instead of the more common commerce or arts subjects, and subsequently undertook post-graduate studies at the University of Melbourne in intellectual property.  This combination was driven from a personal interest in both science and language subjects throughout her school years, helped by teachers who made subjects such as chemistry and maths interesting and easy to understand.

The reasoning skills learnt in Catherine’s scientific studies help her analyse and resolve complex legal issues on a daily basis, and her scientific background enables Catherine to better understand the needs of clients involved in developing and commercialising new technology.

What is it about you that got you to where you are today?

Being willing to listen and learn, and to respond accordingly; not being afraid of hard work and change; a collaborative and ‘other-centred’ approach; personal honesty and integrity.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to women just starting their careers in science?

Develop your written and verbal communication skills.  Know who your audience is and communicate accordingly.  Researchers working with industry partners will find their research has greater impact if there is regular and open dialogue. Good communication skills are vital if you wish to become a patent attorney or senior manager of a technology-based company!

What inspired you to science? Have you always liked science? What do you love most about science?

I like to understand things – we are incredible creatures that live in a mind-blowingly amazing universe and science helps us in part to understand that.  I love that science helps us to care for ourselves and our planet better.

What have you learnt during your career to increase your resilience?

Career is important, but so are other things such as faith, family, friends, fun and fitness.  It is up to you to figure out what your limits are, and respect them.

How can we best support the next generation of women scientists?

For both men and women: recognising that women don’t always speak up and give ourselves the credit we deserve, and encouraging us to do so.

Follow Catherine on Twitter: @cboxhall