X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Name And Title: Sandra Leung, senior vice president and general counsel Age: 47 Company Profile: Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. operates in more than 100 countries, selling prescription medications for heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, viral diseases, autoimmune disorders and psychiatric problems, as well as its Enfamil infant formula, wound care products and other health-related goods. Despite its standing among the world’s largest pharmaceutical houses, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s sales in 2006 dropped by 6.7% to $17.9 billion, with earnings down by 47% to $1.58 billion. The company employs 43,000 people worldwide and is headquartered in New York. “We are in a highly regulated industry. The minute you step in the door, you’re regulated” by organizations including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission “and everything related to being a globally traded pharmaceutical company,” Leung said. Overseas, “we deal with health care authorities in every country where we sell our products.” Legal Team And Outside Counsel: Leung manages an in-house legal team of 160 lawyers worldwide. “I know what it is like to be a line attorney. I appreciate and understand the work people do,” she said. In her current role, “I am learning to step back a little bit, look at the bigger picture and work with senior management. That is part of the transition from being a line attorney to working with senior management.” Her staff includes experts in “the evolving field of health care law,” who keep up with ever-changing government reimbursement practices under Medicare, for example. Other in-house legal experts protect the company’s intellectual property portfolio. Bristol-Myers Squibb recently was on the winning side of a patent dispute with a Canadian generic drug manufacturer involving the anti-blood-clotting drug Plavix. “The federal court judge in New York upheld our patent,” Leung recalled. “That was a good example of how in-house attorneys plotted the strategy and outside counsel actually tried the case.” For securities advice and mergers and acquisitions work, the company turns to New York’s Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Significant litigation goes to Debevoise & Plimpton, also of New York, and Washington-based Hogan & Hartson helps with FDA compliance. Daily Duties: Leung works closely with the Bristol-Myers Squibb board of directors, Chief Executive Officer James M. Cornelius and other senior managers. She said that she is expected to advise on prospective issues � to keep the board and senior management on top of trends, uncertainties and developments in corporate governance. She believes in addressing issues before they become problems. “For example, the litigation group gets involved with business to work on products, to review labels and other issues from a litigator’s perspective. I tell the attorneys, ‘You know you are successful when your clients come to you before there is a problem, when they are in the concept stage, and they ask your perspective. That’s when you know your clients respect the value you bring to the process.’ We can’t be seen as a necessary evil after there is a problem.” She makes it a practice to schedule routine telephone chats with her subordinates to keep on top of what’s going on. Additionally, “we have a management counsel meeting with the CEO once a week. I am on the phone quite a bit with outside counsel. I am very hands-on about reading press releases and reports and that sort of thing. It seems like it is meeting after meeting.” Route To Current Position: Leung earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Tufts University outside Boston in 1981 and her law degree from Boston College Law School in 1985. She has worked as an attorney for exactly two employers: the New York County District Attorney’s Office in New York City, where she prosecuted homicide cases, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Leung joined the company’s litigation group in 1992. She was promoted to corporate secretary in 1999 and later was named chief ethics officer. In September 2006, Leung was named interim general counsel and received the permanent appointment in February of this year. “Being the child of immigrant parents, I grew up with relatives and friends who were often unable to speak for themselves,” Leung said. “I made a commitment at an early age that I would speak for those who could not, for whatever reason, speak for themselves.” During law school, she worked one summer for the civil division of the Legal Aid Society, and the next summer as an intern in the criminal division. The experience inspired her to become a prosecutor. “It was exciting, thrilling work. I just loved speaking for crime victims, working with law enforcement and doing the right thing. There were defendants’ cases I decided to dismiss and not prosecute, and cases I prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” Still, the time commitment the job demanded became onerous. “When I was in homicide I could get called at 3 o’clock in the morning and not see my family for a couple of days. When I was in trial, I disappeared for a couple of weeks. After a while, with two small children, I decided I needed to do something else with more predictable � if not fewer � hours. I was drawn to Bristol-Myers because it makes lifesaving oncology products and other products that make a difference in people’s lives.” Personal: Leung’s parents emigrated from China, settling in Connecticut and opening a restaurant. She lives in her suburban Connecticut hometown with her husband and two teenage sons, and commutes daily to Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Park Avenue headquarters. “I work with various Asian-American community causes and bar associations but I spend most weekends cleaning house and being with family,” she said. “My sons are very active, so the weekends are often focused on sports activities with the kids. I am one of 10 children and my siblings mostly live within 10 minutes” of her home. “On weekends I cook. I can have 26 people over for dinner with two hours’ notice. I love entertaining and cooking.” Last Book And Movie: Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Inside Man, directed by Spike Lee. “I guess if I said Borat that would not sound very general counsel,” Leung said.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.