Tashica Williams Amirgholizadeh, Ph.D./J.D.

Tashica Williams Amirgholizadeh

Tashica Williams Amirgholizadeh

Corporate Counsel, Intellectual Property

Gilead Sciences, Inc.


B.S., Chemistry, with a Minor in Mathematics, Baylor University, Waco, TX

Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA; J.D., University of California, Berkeley

Tashica Amirgholizadeh followed the tried-and-true path taken by many undergraduate chemistry majors: earning a Ph.D. During her graduate school tenure, however, she learned of colleagues who decided to continue on a less common career path: that of patent litigator. She was intrigued and, upon researching the field, decided that it would be a perfect fit for her.

After obtaining her doctorate, she attended law school and then worked at a major international firm for approximately six years, until she moved to her present position in May 2013. As corporate counsel at Gilead Sciences, she is responsible for advising business, research, and legal colleagues concerning intellectual property matters with an emphasis on patent litigation — both domestic and international.

Intellectual property law generally — and patent litigation in particular — is a field that continues to excite me intellectually. While I am no longer at the bench, I am always exposed to cutting edge research and science that continues to feed the intellectual hunger that pushed me into science years ago.

Primary job responsibilities:

Each day brings new and interesting challenges. Because I am employed by a fast growing company, this rapid growth brings with it new issues. I can spend roughly half of my day in meetings and the other half managing outside counsel around the world. We engage in a variety of matters, including Hatch-Waxman litigation, which involves defending our patent against generic challenges. We also do other things in terms of prosecution — for example, getting patents to protect our products.

Work schedule:

I generally work eight to nine hours per day. The pace of the work environment is determined by the most active matters on any given day. I would say that, overall, the environment is fast paced.

Travel schedule:

One to five days. My travel can involve anything related to a particular case — depositions, hearings, and similar activities. In such cases, my role is to serve as the legal face of the company.

Work environment:

I have a typical work environment – i.e., I work in an office with common equipment (e.g., computer, etc.).

Tools you can’t live without:

I cannot live without my iPhone and iPad. I also have a healthy attachment to my Yelp app, since my work requires travel.

What you like most about your job:

I believe that the best aspect of my job is the fact that I am entrusted with a great deal of responsibility related to the intellectual property rights of some of my company’s important product pipelines. I also enjoy my frequent interactions with extraordinarily smart scientists and my legal colleagues, who bring a wealth of experience to their respective positions and thus I continue my professional development.

Best productivity trick:

My best productivity trick is the creation of daily lists! This “trick” helps to keep me organized and enables me to prioritize matters on a daily basis.

Best career advice you’ve received:

The best career advice that I have received is to make sure that I love what I do (and success will follow). I also have been told to hold fast to the curiosity that made me a great scientist.

Favorite ACS resource:

Chemical & Engineering News. It keeps me abreast of some of the hot topics and issues of the moment.