Most Highly Regarded Firms: Life Sciences 2012

In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Ian Dodds-Smith Arnold & Porter, London
Trevor Cook Bird & Bird LLP, London
Peter Bogaert Covington & Burling LLP, Brussels
Penny Gilbert Powell Gilbert LLP, London
Pierre Véron Véron & Associés, Paris
Rainer Hilli Roschier, Attorneys Ltd, Helsinki
Richard Kingham Covington & Burling LLP, Washington, DC
Laetitia Benard Allen & Overy LLP, Paris
Robert Tucker Tucker Ellis & West LLP, Cleveland
Morag Macdonald Bird & Bird LLP, London

This, the fourth edition of The International Who’s Who of Life Sciences Lawyers, draws on hundreds of hours of interviews with leading private practice lawyers and thousands of votes cast by legal and business professionals in order to build a comprehensive picture of the current trends and developments in the international life sciences legal market.

A three-time recipient of our firm of the year award in this discipline, Bird & Bird again emerges as one of the best represented firms in our research, with 21 lawyers from nine offices throughout Europe and Asia ranking prominently – an increase of six listings on the previous edition’s total. The firm’s London office is its best represented, fielding six lawyers, among whom Trevor Cook is an “undoubted leader”. Noted for his “outstanding” intellectual property, administrative and pharmaceutical regulatory expertise, Cook regularly acts for clients before the European Court of Justice. Morag Macdonald acts as joint head of Bird & Bird’s international IP group and has acted in numerous high-profile multi-jurisdictional patent disputes involving life sciences companies, including Baxter v Pharmacia & Upjohn/Genetics Institute and Edwards Lifesciences v Cook Biotech, and sources describe her as a “superstar”. Gerald Kamstra is recognised for his “high-quality” contentious IP work as well as his regulatory, competition and EC law expertise.

Germany is another major talent base at the firm, with four lawyers earning listings from the Düsseldorf and Munich offices. Of counsel Wolfgang von Meibom chairs the Bird & Bird’s offices in Germany and is the founder of the firm’s IP group in the country, whose disputes work for life sciences companies is “very highly regarded”. Ina vom Feld focuses her life sciences practice on drafting and negotiating contracts as part of licensing agreements, clinical trials and pharmaceutical manufacturing agreements and sources describe her as “indispensable”. Bruno Vandermeulen is one of two lawyers mentioned in Brussels, where he heads the firm’s regional IP group and is acknowledged for his Belgian and cross-border IP litigation work. The Milan office also fields two representatives, including office founder and “great” IP and unfair competition specialist Massimiliano Mostardini, who jointly heads the firm's international life sciences group with Trevor Cook. Further listings in France, Finland and the Netherlands demonstrate the firm’s strong European credentials.

Bird & Bird is also noted for its presence in Asia. Matthew Laight is the managing partner of the firm’s China offices, comprising Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong (where he is based), and he is well regarded for his work in inter-jurisdictional IP litigation throughout Asia as well as non-contentious life sciences work, such as clinical trials and joint marketing agreements. Each of the firm’s China offices fields an additional representative in the following pages.

Similarly well recognised in our research, Hogan Lovells fields lawyers from 10 offices throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. Five lawyers appear from the London office with international product liability head John Meltzer earning particular praise among peers for his work related to pharmaceuticals, medical devices, tobacco and asbestos. The firm’s Amsterdam office is also well represented: four lawyers, including regulatory specialist Carla J R A Schoonderbeek, are included in our listings. Schoonderbeek advises clients in the pharmaceutical and medical devices sector on all aspects of EU law, encompassing market access, marketing authorisations, risk management and data protection, and sources consider her a “major talent.”

Munich-based Ina Brock, one of two lawyers listed in Germany, is the leader of Hogan Lovells’ product liability team in the country and global co-head of the life sciences practice. Brock focuses her practice on pharmaceutical liability matters, including mass torts, international conflicts of law and cross-border disputes, and is described as a “first-rate litigator” and a “hugely knowledgeable” authority on product safety, insurance and crisis communication issues. Hogan Lovells offices in France and Belgium also field representatives, further attesting to the firm’s well-established presence in Europe.

Janice Hogan is the managing partner of Hogan Lovells’ Philadelphia office, and acts as co-director of the firm’s FDA and medical devices practice group alongside DC-based Jonathan Kahan. A “superb” technical lawyer, Hogan has a background in biomedical engineering and focuses her practice on providing regulatory counselling to high-tech medical device companies. Kahan is also noted for his “top-tier” regulatory acumen and his representation of clients in administrative hearings and trials as well as the Federal Courts. A further three lawyers come recommended from the DC office, alongside Palo Alto-based corporate specialist Laura Berezin. Completing the firm’s listings is Asia IP practice group head Henry Wheare in Hong Kong, who regularly acts in high-profile contentious and non-contentious matters on behalf of such clients as Merck.

With 19 listings from offices across Europe and the US, Covington & Burling LLP emerges as a leading law firm in this discipline. More than half of the Covington’s representatives are based in the Washington, DC, headquarters, including all three food and drug law practice group co-chairs: Ellen Flannery, Peter Safir and Gerald Masoudi. Sources praise Flannery’s “first-rate” regulatory expertise, noting her work in medical device dispute resolution panel proceedings and advice to companies in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigations and product liability issues. Safir focuses his practice on pharmaceutical regulatory work and counts Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer among his clients. Masoudi recently joined the firm from the FDA where he served as chief counsel, and is highly regarded for his trial and appellate litigation work.

Dividing his time between the DC and London offices, Richard Kingham emerges as “one of the very best” names internationally in our research; peers praise his work on behalf of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and trade associations in administration proceedings, prosecutions and congressional hearings. A further five lawyers are recognised in the London office, including pharmaceutical and medical device regulation expert Grant Castle, who specialises in coordinating multi-jurisdictional regulatory projects and transactions and is a “great asset”, according to respondents to our survey. Three lawyers rank highly in Covington’s Brussels office, among whom managing partner Peter Bogaert is “pre-eminent”. Described as a “leading light” in EC life sciences regulatory law, Bogaert is also recognised for his representation of clients in court.


Eight of the 10 most highly regarded practitioners in this edition hail from jurisdictions in Europe, demonstrating the sophistication of the life sciences bar in the region, with England home to more featured lawyers than any other European country.

One of three names from Arnold & Porter LLP’s London office, Ian Dodds-Smith is co-head of the firm-wide food, drug and medical devices group and leader of the European product liability team, and leads the field internationally in this year’s research. An “invaluable expert” in UK and European regulatory matters, Dodds-Smith has recently acted in such matters as The Queen on the application of Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry v. Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and The Queen, on the application of H Lundbeck A/S and Lundbeck Ltd v. the Licensing Authority, ex parte Synthon, Actavis, Bioorganics, Stada, and Merz, and has represented clients such as St Jude Medical, Sanofi-Pasteur and Monsanto. The “superb” David Perkins and Lincoln Tsang also rank highly at the firm’s London office alongside nominees from Brussels, DC and Los Angeles.

Biopharma specialist Penny Gilbert is a founder and name partner of Powell Gilbert LLP in London and regularly acts in domestic and multinational patent disputes before the UK patent courts, the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court as well as the European Patent Office. Fellow founder Tim Powell and partners Zoë Butler and Alex Wilson are also recommended.

Three lawyers rank highly from Allen & Overy LLP’s Paris office, including IP specialist Laëtitia Bénard. Focusing her practice on cross-border patent litigation, as well as the regulatory, contract and product liability issues for pharmaceutical companies, Bénard is considered “one of the very best” names in Europe. At the same office, Olivier Fréget and Pierre Lenoir are “strongly recommended” by peers, while Nicola Dagg and Colleen Keck are recognised in London.

Patent litigation boutique Véron & Associés is another major talent base in the French capital, and is home to founder Pierre Véron. Internationally renowned as an IP specialist, Véron is considered a “world leader” in patent disputes. Sabine Agé and Isabelle Romet add to the firm’s strong presence in Paris.

Rainer Hilli was named as managing partner of Roschier, Attorneys Ltd in Helsinki last year and is a “superstar” according to respondents to our survey. Hilli acts as head of the firm’s IP team and his practice combines patent and dispute resolution work with a strong focus on marketing and consumer law.


As the country’s legislative hub, Washington, DC, is home to more high-ranking life sciences lawyers than any other US jurisdiction.

Founded as a firm specifically focused on assisting clients regulated by the FDA, Hyman, Phelps & McNamara PC fields five representatives in the US capital. Founding partners Paul Hyman and James Phelps both started their careers as trial lawyers at the FDA and each has amassed almost 50 years of experience in regulatory and disputes matters. Both lawyers are described by peers as “legendary figures in the market.”

Sidley Austin LLP also enjoys a strong presence in DC, where four of its lawyers are nominated. Scott Bass heads the firm’s global life sciences team and is described as “world-class” by peers for his work in FDA enforcement and regulatory matters. Similarly well regarded is food, drug and medical devices regulatory practice group leader Coleen Klasmeier, whose practice combines compliance counselling with a strong enforcement and litigation focus. Six lawyers rank highly from Sidley’s Chicago headquarters, among whom Sara Gourley “stands pre-eminent”, according to sources who praise her work in pharmaceutical and medical device liability litigation, particularly in relation to blood products, as “exceptional”. Further listings in New York and Los Angeles, as well as Brussels and Beijing, give Sidley an impressive total of 15 inclusions overall.

Three lawyers from two offices represent Tucker Ellis & West LLP, with name partner Robert Tucker emerging as one of the most highly regarded names internationally in this discipline. A specialist in medical malpractice and life sciences product liability, Tucker has defended clients in the state and federal Courts, and has an “unimpeachable record” according to peers. Richard Dean joins Tucker in the Cleveland office, while Charles Socha is a prominent name in Denver.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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