Primary job responsibilities:
As an attorney, I practice in two areas: FDA regulatory law and intellectual property (IP) law.
On the FDA side, my work focuses on helping companies in the food, dietary supplement, and cosmetic industiries comply with assorted regulations in terms of manufacturing, marketing, and developing their products.
And on the IP side, I help businesses identify which intellectual assets — trade secrets, trademarks, and innovations — are protectable, develop strategies for protecting such assets, and help the companies monetize those assets through licensing and other technology-based agreements.
Typical day on the job:
I am blessed with a lot of variety in my work! Some days are spent at the desk writing, counseling clients via telephone conferences, developing strategies for complying with FDA regulations or for protecting innovations, and negotiating technology-based agreements. Other days involve meetings outside of the office with clients and colleagues.
As an attorney, my workplace is a law office.
Typically, my work week runs from about 45 to 52 hours, which includes events outside of the office.
What you like most about your job:
I love the variety in the work I do. I enjoy using my technical background, married with a touch of creativity, in helping clients resolve their legal issues. I am “big” on preventative guidance, especially if it requires a creative touch — I try to keep clients from getting ensnarled in situations that would cost them a lot of money to extricate themselves. Knowing that I helped a client advance its business and achieve its goals gives me tremendous satisfaction.
Best productivity trick:
Lists!! I strive to get a minimum of three things done each day, no matter what happens. I keep an up-to-date list and cross off each item as it is completed.
Best career advice you’ve received:
The only career advice I ever received was after I had worked as a chemist and was seeking a position as a food scientist. I was interviewing with a Fortune 300 company (at that time). The R&D director there said to pay attention to the atmosphere and “see if it’s right for you.” In other words, pay attention to the general “feel” of the place — if it’s positive, negative, accepting, or repressive — and how the people treat each other. I did, and I ended up accepting the job offer presented to me at the interview. I appreciated the wisdom of that advice and invoked it through my careers.
To my chagrin, however, when I entered the world of law, I dismissed the wisdom of that advice and accepted a job I should have turned down.
I had been offered a position with a law firm which I didn’t feel I wanted, but also didn’t want to turn down. My gut was saying, “walk away.” But the legal matters the firm handled sounded fascinating. So, I dismissed all the “signs” and accepted the job. Shortly after starting, I saw business practices there that I did not agree with.
So now, when asked what advice I have for new graduates ready to embark on job-hunting, I always tell them to pay attention to the atmosphere and the energy of a prospective employer. Think about any clues revealed about their ethics. Don’t compromise your values just to “fit in.” Don’t be afraid to stand up for what’s right, even if you are the only one doing so. When you get older and look back, you will have absolutely no regrets.
Skills or talents that make you a good fit for your job:
It’s more of a trait than a talent: I thrive on variety in my work, I love learning new things, I need to be challenged, and I am pretty flexible.