Insight

Jane Adams, San Diego "Lawyer of the Year" for Biotechnology Law 2017

Cooley's Jane Adams on the ingredients that make up a successful biotechnology lawyer.

Lawyer of the Year: Jane Adams
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Nicole Ortiz

December 2, 2016 12:00 AM

Patience. Listening skills. An optimistic approach. These are just a few ingredients that go into creating a well-rounded biotechnology law attorney, and Jane Adams of Cooley LLP certainly fits the bill.

After graduating from Harvard Law in 1995, where she received her degree Juris Doctor cum laude, Jane Adams’ first job out of school was with Cooley. When she first started, she had no idea what went into being a biotechnology lawyer. However, she quickly became assimilated.

“I had always wanted to be a doctor, like my father and his father before him, but I’m quick to faint, and it was a disappointment to me that I couldn’t pursue medicine,” she shared. “The realization that, at Cooley, I could still be involved with cutting edge science and helping scientists develop cures for diseases that are currently incurable really fulfilled something in me that I thought was never going to happen.”

Since her career has advanced toward a more senior role, she worked on larger biotechnology licensing and collaboration transactions rather than corporate and public and private financing work. For Ms. Adams, this was the most rewarding part of the job.

Another of Ms. Adams’ favorite aspects of working in biotechnology law is that her role calls for her to protect and prioritize her clients’ interests while also addressing the other party’s legitimate concerns. And, while dealing with technical scientific concepts and translating them into words that all lawyers, business people, and scientists involved will understand may be difficult, it’s also something that Ms. Adams appreciates and enjoys. “I can write a contract that says that every time the parties make a decision about ‘this,’ they will put it in writing and sign it and file it in this place. But if they’re not going to do that, if that’s just not how they operate, then that’s not good legal work by me.”

And, unsurprisingly, Ms. Adams’ clients appreciate her precision and expertise.

Joseph E. Payne, CEO of Arcturus Therapeutics, noted that “from a biotechnology perspective, Arcturus’ multi-component lipid nanoparticle ribonucleic acid drug products are not simple. Yet Jane handles very complex information efficiently and displayed excellent writing skills as she composed significant business documents involving layers of intricate intellectual property protection.”

Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Tocagen Inc. Nicholas A. Boyle commented, “Jane’s breadth of knowledge enables her to deliver tremendous insight and value with all of our contract matters. In addition to her legal support, Jane also has a rare business savvy that enables her to help resolve complex issues with a pragmatic touch. Beyond the hard skills, Jane is a wonderful person, highly responsive, and a joy to work with.”

Ms. Adams was listed as a Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” in 2014 for her work in biotechnology law, in addition to many other accolades.

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