Identifying and Avoiding Ethical Conflicts of Interest for Life Sciences Attorneys

February 24, 2015 3:15pm

Timothy H. Kratz
McGuireWoods LLP

Douglas S. Portnow
Patent Attorney
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Bruce S. Weintraub
Senior Corporate Counsel, Intellectual Property, Legal Division
Pfizer Inc.

John T. Vaughan
Vice President and Regulatory Counsel

Rajan Sharma
General Counsel
Dynamic Biologics, Inc.

  • Best practices for doing conflicts checks for adverse interests in the closely related life sciences world, particularly in light of increased mergers and acquisitions between companies
    • Identifying actual conflicts and making sure appropriate waivers are in place
    • Subject matter conflicts: representing competitors and maintaining product related confidentiality
  • The revolving door: Factoring in high employee turnover between companies
    • Hiring an ex-government attorney (FDA, SEC etc): what are the restrictions when dealing with the agency going forward?
  • In-house perspective: choosing a law firm in light of potential conflicts
    • Knowing the limitations of an ethics screen: when should a firm be disqualified?
    • Making a decision whether to waive a law firm conflict
    • Understanding when a conflict cannot be waived
  • Addressing conflicts in a collaboration or licensing situation: understanding the competing interests at play and addressing ethical dilemmas proactively contractually
  • Understanding the ethical requirements during a joint representation: considerations for in-house and law firm counsel
    • Determining whether the named employee was acting in the scope of his or her employment
    • Making the decision if the employee requires special counsel
    • Preparing for testimony and depositions at trial
    • Ethical concerns related to potential settlements involving claims against individuals