Q: What are some of your proudest recent achievements?
A: I recently became global co-leader of the firm’s intellectual property practice, along with Gabriela Kennedy in our Hong Kong office, and I am very proud of the fact our group is now led by two women—that is a first. Prior to becoming a firm practice leader, I led the New York office’s intellectual property group and was able to grow the group to 50 percent women attorneys by focusing our energies on building a diverse team. I am very committed to mentoring, supporting and promoting our diverse attorneys and I was very proud to receive the firm’s “Diversity Champion” award last year. Our clients often comment on how diverse our teams are, which is very gratifying, particularly because these teams have racked up some very impressive successes recently. On a substantive note, I recently headed a team that successfully represented ViiV Healthcare and Vertex Pharmaceuticals in a five-year long battle to protect the patents covering Lexiva®, a life-saving, blockbuster HIV treatment. The case included a district court trial and several inter partes review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board which resulted in securing the market exclusivity of Lexiva against multiple generic challengers.
Q: What does it mean to be a leader?
A: Good leadership is very individual—I think leaders need to define their own style based on their personalities and strengths. It never works to adopt a style that isn’t true to yourself. In the law firm setting, I believe a good leader sets the goals and direction for the team and then motivates and inspires the team to achieve that vision. The best firm leaders cultivate and nurture the talent within a group and support young lawyers by providing them with opportunities and access so they can achieve success.
Q: Name a lawyer or mentor whose leadership inspired you.
A: I’m inspired by the many women lawyers who have achieved impressive “firsts,” and in doing so, have paved the way for women like myself. Women such as Arabella Mansfield, Charlotte Ray, Constance Baker Motley, Deborah Batts, Sonia Sotomayor and Sandra Day O’Connor are true trailblazers who overcame numerous challenges through hard work, excellence and a dedication to the law and have helped women gain a greater presence in the profession.
Q: How are the business and profession of law changing, and how should lawyers adapt for the future?
A: In my own field, I see the practice of law changing dramatically, as both the law and lawyers are increasingly adapting to the changing technology around us. Going forward, lawyers need to focus on staying on top of these technical advances so that they can apprise clients of how innovations impact their businesses. The lawyers that develop essential skills and creative solutions for their clients will succeed—as always.
Q: What is the best advice for someone considering a career in law, or someone already in the profession who is seeking to make a greater impact?
A: The practice of law is increasingly competitive. I counsel our young attorneys to start early in developing a practice and a network of contacts. I advise them to join organizations and volunteer for leadership roles, as the lawyers they meet along the way may be key to their future success in building client relationships. Keeping in touch with everyone they cross paths with over the years is essential, as their peers may one day be general counsel. Succeeding and making a greater impact in this profession is all about the effort that you expend—this is not a 9-to-5 job, but rather, a lifetime endeavor and career. You only get out of it what you have put into it!
Reprinted with permission from the October 4, 2018 edition of New York Law Journal © 2018 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.