‘What defines Baker McKenzie over the last few years is the sheer amount of work that has gone into financial integration. This is a massive achievement but it has come at a cost. Now, establishing the differentiator to attract the next generation is important. It isn’t going to turn into Kirkland & Ellis, but what is going to drive that entrepreneurial aspect now Bakers looks more like other firms?’ So speaks one commentator of the quandary facing Baker McKenzie, a sentiment reprising a prevailing theme of our 2017 deep dive into the firm, ‘Waking the Giant’, which found a firm struggling to maintain its unique international selling point amid escalating globalisation of Big Law.
Then, the firm had just embarked on a new and ambitious phase, with the respected veteran intellectual property (IP) partner Paul Rawlinson instated as its first British chair in October 2016. The mandate? To implement the firm’s 2020 strategy, which focused on integrating Bakers across three profit pools, increasing profitability and growing the firm’s transactional practices in London, New York and China. Continue reading “Baker McKenzie: One eye open”
Why did you decide to specialise in life sciences?
I have a science background – a PhD in organic chemistry – and worked for a short time as a medicinal chemist for Glaxo. I also had an interest in the humanities at school, so law had always seemed to be an option, and life sciences law made sense. I had assumed that I would go into IP/patents, but was lucky enough to meet a life sciences regulatory lawyer from Covington and spent some time there before my training contract. I came back to Covington on qualification and I am still here 25 years later. I clearly made the right choice. Continue reading “Life Sciences perspectives: Grant Castle”
Zina Chatzidimitriadou, senior managing associate at Sidley, on why she picked a career in life sciences law
Why did you decide to specialise in life sciences law?
In 2009, in my previous life as a molecular biologist at the Cancer Research UK institute, I experienced the multiple issues and complexities facing researchers and people involved in the development of life-saving treatments and methods. Life sciences emerged as the natural field of law for me and, while I am biased, I believe it is the most exciting field of law. Continue reading “Rising stars: Zina Chatzidimitriadou – ‘It is the one legal area that affects every single one of us and is, above all, human-centred’”
Baker McKenzie’s Jaspreet Takhar on the future of digital health solutions
What made you decide to specialise in life sciences law?
I specialise in advising on digital health solutions – that means advising on the regulation of health data, digital health solutions (including AI solutions, software and medical devices), as well as contracting in this space. I genuinely find the digital health space as exciting as it gets! The legal landscape is changing at breakneck speed, and I spend a few minutes every morning scanning for new regulations, new announcements and new guidance. Hot topics for legal developments include the regulation of AI, the European Health Data Space, and local laws on medical confidentiality. Continue reading “Rising stars: Jaspreet Takhar – ‘EU regulators are preparing an avalanche of new laws that are going to have a monumental impact on pharma and medtech’”
Dr Chris Boyle, counsel at Sidley, on the risks and opportunities facing the industry
What do you most enjoy about being a life sciences lawyer?
My passion for science led me to qualify and practice as a veterinary surgeon before I discovered that scientists and clinicians are uniquely placed to make a big impact in law, and I requalified as a life sciences lawyer. The best thing about being a life sciences lawyer is that I can harness my scientific interest and knowledge to serve clients on a far greater scale than I could in veterinary practice, to help them develop the health technologies and services of tomorrow. It is particularly helpful to ‘speak the same language’ when I am advising on matters that require interactions with healthcare professionals and regulators – for example it has proven key in assisting clients with NICE health technology assessments. Continue reading “Rising stars: Dr Chris Boyle – ‘AI is going to have a transformative impact on the life sciences industry’”
David Gibson, senior associate at McDermott Will & Emery
Why did you decide to specialise in life sciences law, and what’s the best thing about being a life sciences lawyer?
I find the subject matter fascinating, and I am genuinely curious about new technologies and medicines and how they can be used, shared and applied to improve healthcare for patients across the world. We are often involved in helping our clients with strategic projects and transactions, partnering with other organisations and bringing products to market and to scale – often across different jurisdictions. As a transactional and projects lawyer, I enjoy working with clients to bring the commercial, financing, regulatory and other legal elements together: it is an area of law that has a bit of everything! Continue reading “Rising stars: David Gibson – ‘There are so many great new technologies and medicines with potential to make a difference to populations and treatment pathways but key challenges remain in regulating them’”
Why did you want to become a lawyer?
I always wanted to. I wanted to fight injustice. It began when I watched Crown Court on TV – although I wanted to be the judge rather than any of the lawyers. So, my first inclination was after watching a TV programme, and thinking ‘I want to do that’.
Continue reading “Banking and Finance perspectives: Dr Sandie Okoro”
Why did you want to become a lawyer and what drew you to the financial services regulatory side?
As much as the law itself, it was the draw of international work that led me to the City and to Herbert Smith, as it was then. I had read languages at university and was excited about the prospect of working on high-profile international matters.
Continue reading “Banking and Finance perspectives: Jenny Stainsby”
I actually started practising law in California, way back in the dark ages. I moved over here for two years, and I’ve been here ever since. I never really intended to be a lawyer in London at all. My lifetime ambition was to be a criminal lawyer in Baltimore. My early career could be characterised as wanting to work at a big law firm in a big city before I would go back to a smaller city and a very different law practice. As you can see, all that planning never really turned out. I haven’t touched a criminal case in a very long time. Continue reading “Banking and Finance perspectives: Chris Kandel”
When you began your legal career, why did you choose employment law?
The 1990s felt like the Golden Age of employment law – employment protections were expanding rapidly (thanks to Europe), opportunities for pushing the boundaries and progressing in employment law seemed limitless; even the Prime Minister and his wife were employment lawyers. All of life was in employment law – power imbalances, relationship struggles, societal prejudices and biases, human ambition, vulnerability and frailties, and so much more. It was the most exciting area of law to go into at that time (and probably still is now), and everyone wanted to be an employment lawyer. I was lucky enough to have great mentors and sponsors who supported my progress and gave me international work that I loved, fantastic opportunities to learn, and, in time, the potential to travel. Employment law opened doors for me that I never expected and which, to this day, I genuinely appreciate. Continue reading “Perspectives: Clare Murray, CM Murray”