Laura DeMoor, a member of ChiWIP’s In-House Advisory Committee, is Associate General Counsel, Intellectual Property, at Baxter Healthcare Corporation, where she is in charge of managing IP litigation in the US and abroad, IP due diligence, IP transactions, patent prosecution and many other facets of intellectual property law for Baxter’s Pharmaceuticals business. Laura has been at Baxter for over 15 years, and over time has worked on both generic and branded pharmaceuticals, so is familiar with the often opposing perspectives in the Hatch-Waxman space. At Baxter, she enjoys managing multiple projects, often global in scope. She is most proud of an expansive product launch spanning numerous continents, including Asia, Europe, North America and South America, that involved adversarial proceedings to achieve success in all of these regions. She oversees the IP legal aspects of the businesses that she supports, and engages with various functions (from R&D to marketing) to create strategies for developing, launching and improving products. Prior to becoming an in-house attorney, she was a partner at Banner & Witcoff, Ltd., working primarily in intellectual property litigation.
Laura didn’t always have her eye on intellectual property or practicing law in general. In undergrad, she majored in chemical engineering and ultimately began her career in technical sales. After several years, she took the LSAT with every intention of becoming an environmental lawyer, but realized that she enjoyed intellectual property after having the opportunity to experience it as a summer intern. Laura thinks that gaining exposure to various legal practices as a summer intern was a key for her in determining where to concentrate her practice, and she encourages others to try to gain such experience, at multiple firms and in several practice areas, if possible.
Because her practice focuses on managing projects as well as people, Laura has tried to emulate what she sees as good leadership. To Laura, leadership means building rapport, establishing trust, generally allowing people to manage themselves, but knowing when to check in and when to step in and provide direction. She remarks that good leaders often seem to take on an advisory role; poor leaders seem to prefer a dictatorial role. She says, “You have to communicate in a way that makes people consider different options, but also lets people work out solutions to problems themselves.” Laura also enjoys teaching others about intellectual property law. Her favorite aspect of teaching is when she hears people recite a learning that she’s provided. She particularly appreciates when people know to come and ask for IP legal advice—"that’s when you know you’ve done your job.” As an adjunct to her in-house training role, Laura ran a street law program where she focused on teaching high school students various aspects of intellectual property. At the end of the program, the students put that knowledge to use in a in a mock trial.
Laura believes networking is a key to success, but even more important is finding a mentor early in a legal career. She encourages new attorneys, and even senior attorneys who change firms or go in-house, to find a mentor who can teach both the hard and soft skills required to be successful in their new careers or positions. Many of these skills will translate to success throughout a legal career. She says that without her mentor at Banner & Witcoff, she wouldn’t have learned many of the practical skills required of an attorney.
Laura loves traveling to foreign countries with her husband. She memorializes these trips by making hardcover picture books of her travels. Her favorite trip has been to Bhutan, a stunningly beautiful place known as “the world’s happiest country.” She is also the proud owner of a Shih Tzu puppy, and weekends will find her taking him to agility classes.