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In-house: high-profile Pfizer GC steps down while former Dewey chair appointed as a UAE legal adviser

She has built a reputation as one of the most powerful and influential lawyers in the world but Pfizer has confirmed that its high-profile general counsel and executive leadership member Amy Schulman is to leave the pharma giant just weeks before the in-house lawyer was due to take up a new post.

Schulman had joined Pfizer in 2008 from her position as co-head of mass tort and class actions at DLA Piper. The star litigator, who was reportedly responsible for a $60m book of business, was an equally high-profile general counsel going on to pioneer the Pfizer Legal Alliance, a radical attempt to usher in annually fixed fees for advisers that entirely ditched the billable hour.

The move comes despite Schulman in July being named as head of vaccines, oncology and consumer healthcare business, a post she was expected to assume in the New Year.

Pfizer said that this role would instead be taken by Albert Bourla, while Pfizer counsel Doug Lankler has stepped into the role of general counsel. Former associate general counsel Rady Johnson is now chief compliance and risk officer.

‘Amy Schulman and Pfizer have agreed to separate,’ a Pfizer statement said, ‘by mutual agreement. She will remain at the company for a transition period. We thank Amy for the past five years of hard work and many contributions, and we wish her well in her future endeavours.’

The move comes amid a corporate shake-up at Pfizer that is expected to divide the business into three core divisions and the divestment of its non-medical concerns. There will be much scrutiny regarding whether Pfizer will retain its fixed fee adviser model, which Schulman had been a strong personal advocate for.

Meanwhile, the former chairman of failed New York firm Dewey & LeBoeuf has secured a heavyweight role as legal adviser to the government of Ras al Khairmah, one of the seven emirates of the UAE.

According to reports by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Reuters, a memo confirming the appointment of energy lawyer Steven Davis was signed by executive committee chairman of the Ras al Khaimah’s Investment and Development Office (IDO), Salem, Ali Al Sharhan on 8 December.

According to the WSJ , the memo further states the appointment of Davis as chief legal officer to the government will see Davis establish and oversee the legal affairs department for the government of Ras al Khaimah within the IDO. The legal affairs department will be responsible for the provision and supervision of legal services, and the review and monitoring of all policies and procedures relating to corporate governance and compliance.

Davis, who was installed as Dewey & LeBoeuf’s sole chairman after the merger of New York firms LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae and Dewey Ballantine, has kept a low profile since his 2012 ousting from the firm’s management. The firm collapsed in 2012 in the largest-ever law firm insolvency. In April 2013, Davis offered to pay over half a million dollars in the form of a promissory note to the firm’s liquidation trust to settle claims against him.