What to Do After Law School? Consider A Winning Career In Big Pharma

For a law graduate, entering the pharmaceutical industry can be a good career move.

According to “The Global Use of Medicine in 2019 and Outlook to 2023”, the global pharmaceutical industry is expected to overcome $1.5 trillion by 2023 at an annual growth rate of 3-6%.

Legal professionals do not require skills relevant to the pharmaceutical and medical sectors; they can get involved with issues related to food or the cosmetics industry.

The pharmaceutical industry needs lawyers for various functions, as a patent attorney, to provide legal advice to their employer, assist in product safety and marketing, and several other functions.

If you’re interested in working at a pharmaceutical company, here’s a lowdown on some important legal roles that you can take up within the field.

Deputy General Counsel

One of the job markets where a law graduate can apply in the pharmaceutical industry is deputy general counsel.

Large sectors require several in-house attorneys of all levels to provide expert legal advice to senior management. A deputy general counsel can fulfill this responsibility.

Restructuring Policies

They ensure that the organization complies with the law, including several states, federal and international laws. The deputy counsel addresses equal opportunity, copyright infringement, employee/customer privacy, etc.

For a law graduate, the legal consultancy will include establishing and implementing a framework to ensure that the organization observes the various laws.

Most big organizations will already have these policies, but a law graduate’s job will be to carefully access the existing legal formulations and make necessary changes where necessary.

Tackling Litigation

An important area of work is to oversee and manage litigation for the pharmaceutical organization. It is their responsibility to protect a company’s intellectual property and the right to manufacture something.

To ensure this, they have to represent the company both when prosecuting and defending.

Litigation attorneys will assess whether evidence exists to defend his client, gather documents, interview clients, and investigate the facts leading to the dispute.

Handling lawsuits is an incredibly important job for the deputy general counsel as they will have to supervise all the work and report everything to the general counsel.

Guiding Businesses

As an important industry, the pharma companies require a lawyer to oversee the business plans, which will have enormous implications for the future. These include:

  • Managing important deals like a business merger between two companies or the right to manufacture and sell a product.
  • Negotiating better terms on behalf of the employer, drafting contracts, and advising senior management.
  • Leading the in-house legal team, especially when the general counsel is absent.
  • Making large scale decisions, such as budgeting, recruitment, strategy, etc. They might have to bring in outside counsel to ensure that everything is in order.

Foreseeing And Dealing With Company Risks

Law is a complex field where one small misstep can lead to a huge loss for the organization.

To ensure everything is in order, the deputy general counsel must assess activities where there are chances of non-compliance and formulate policies to ensure there is no risk involved.

Deputy Chief Compliance Officer

Another critical job market for law graduates will be the role of a deputy chief compliance officer.

A law graduate will need to have leadership skills, analytical skills, communication skills, and organizational skills to become a good deputy chief compliance officer.

A deputy chief compliance officer’s responsibilities will largely consist of the following:

  • Ensure that employees comply with all the legal and regulatory requirements
  • Revamp the internal procedures and policies
  • Resolve all the organization’s compliance-related issues

Keeping Up-To-Date With Policies

Law is an ever-evolving field with legal, regulatory, social, and economic issues and guidelines.

It becomes the deputy chief compliance officer’s responsibility to regularly review, design, and modify compliance programs, keeping in mind the complex rules and regulations.

Eliminating Risks

The deputy chief compliance officer is tasked with essential responsibilities like eliminating the risks to the organization’s reputation and internal control.

Internal risk factors like non-compliance of the employees, bribery, and cybersecurity threats usually coincide with a pharmaceutical company’s overall functioning.

As such, deputy chief compliance officers find effective ways to raise awareness, prevent, and mitigate the risks. They develop a compliance risk assessment program and define regulatory compliance requirements.

It will be their responsibility to provide compliance training to compliance managers so that they can be knowledgeable of organizational policies and federal or state laws.

Conducting Audits

The internal audit and risk management department can assist the deputy chief compliance officer in revising and reviewing the compliance issues regularly.

To successfully implement compliance, they will need to oversee internal and external funding sources and budgeting within compliance units.

Handling Documents And Reports

The deputy chief compliance officer will have to document, maintain, and present timely compliance reports to the senior management of other departments.

A deputy chief compliance officer is answerable to the following senior board members:

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
  • Chief Ethics Officer (CXO)
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Compliance Officer

Patent Attorney

The pharmaceutical industry makes discoveries in their medicines all the time, and it becomes essential to protect the company’s intellectual property.

Pharmaceutical discoveries have created a multibillion-dollar industry. By filing and obtaining a patent, the pharmaceutical company will monopolize the commercial exploitation and use of a product.

A patent attorney will work for a specialist consultancy that will advise a range of clients within their respective fields of specialization.

Patents will apply to synthesizing a drug, the chemical makeup of a new product, etc. There are many uses for patents in the field of pharmaceutical law.

A patent attorney will have to have formulated laws for patents while keeping in mind the relevant legislation, potentially across several regions and countries.

For a law graduate interested in commercial law intellectual property, being a patent attorney can be rewarding work.

In Conclusion

With the relevant skills and educational requirements, these complex law fields can be an enriching experience for fresh law graduates.

Every organization requires an in-house legal team of all levels, including patent attorneys, deputy general counsel, deputy chief compliance officer, etc.

A compliance team or department will ensure integrity and create a healthy work culture environment.

It is imperative to have an organization’s strategy, vision, and mission that will comply with government bodies’ laws and regulations.

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