For the lawyers at Allergan Inc., providing top-flight legal counsel is only part of the picture.
Allergan's 36 lawyers, 23 of whom are based at the pharmaceutical company's Irvine, Calif., headquarters, primarily focus on making the company successful, said general counsel Arnold Pinkston. By enforcing patents and providing regulatory advice about marketing products, among other legal work, the lawyers play their role in improving the bottom line.
Allergan, which counts Botox among its products, reported second-quarter 2013 product net sales of $1.6 billion, an almost 11 percent increase compared with the second quarter of 2012.
"I think this is a group [of lawyers] that is committed to making our company as good as it can be for our shareholders, for our patients [and] for our physician customers, and delivering value to all those major constituencies," said Pinkston, who also serves as executive vice president and assistant secretary.
The company tries to use in-house counsel for its legal work whenever it can, Pinkston said. Allergan's house lawyers typically prove its most effective resource, he finds.
"The value of the in-house lawyer is they know the products and services so much better," Pinkston said. "They know the culture of the company. They know the language — the ins and outs of how work gets done. Just being able to come in and understand the acronyms or the way people talk about things or approach problems is a real advantage for the in-house attorney."
Even so, Allergan maintains a stable of law firms to which it turns for help. They include Irvine-based Finlayson Williams Toffer Roosevelt & Lilly plus Fish & Richardson; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; King & Spalding; Latham & Watkins; O'Melveny & Myers; and Sidley Austin.
When turning to outside legal counsel, Allergan seeks talented and ethical lawyers who can offer a fair fee and quality services and serve as a member of a team, sharing their work with lawyers at the company and at other law firms, Pinkston said.
"What we're looking for is the right value mix," he said.
Among the legal victories outside counsel helped secure for Allergan since January 2012 were wins against Merz Pharmaceuticals LLC in a trade-secrets case and Athena Cosmetics Inc. in an unfair-competition case, both in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
In the Merz case, lawyers from O'Melveny & Myers and King & Spalding helped secure an injunction in March 2012 against the Allergan competitor, keeping that company from selling Xeomin, a Botox rival, for 10 months. Allergan alleged that Merz misappropriated confidential information, including marketing plans and sales details for Botox.
Allergan's lawyers in that case included O'Melveny partners Brett Williamson and Daniel Petrocelli and King & Spalding partner Jeffrey Bucholtz.
"We believe that full and fair competition is healthy," David Pyott, Allergan's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a written statement at the time. "It is important to ensure that physicians and consumers receive accurate and truthful information and are able to make informed decisions about the products they choose to use."
In the Athena case, lawyers from Gibson Dunn and Finlayson Williams in March helped stop the Allergan competitor from selling its eyelash-growing product RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner, a drug similar to Allergan's Latisse. Allergan's lawyers in that case included Gibson Dunn partner Jeffrey Thomas and Finlayson Williams partner T. Kevin Roosevelt.
The case is before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Gibson Dunn is handling the appeal.
Pinkston declined to comment specifically about Allergan's legal victories. But he said the company's legal successes during the past year have helped give its products "a clear runway" to take off.
"It's those projects where we've been extraordinarily impactful to the company," Pinkston said. "It shows right up in the bottom line."
Outside the courtroom and the office, Allergan's in-house lawyers are active in their communities. They volunteer at women's shelters and legal clinics for the poor, and sit on boards of nonprofit organizations, including OneOC, which provides assistance to Orange County nonprofit groups. Pinkston is the chairman of OneOC.
A high level of community service is found on almost every Allergan's lawyer's résumé, he said.
"It's looked on with great admiration to have that perspective of caring and giving and is important to every person, we think," Pinkston said. "And we look for that when we hire."
The lawyers also are diverse. About a dozen are women and several are minorities. Pinkston, who described himself as of mixed race, said he has a "strong commitment" to an inclusive workplace.
"I think we do a pretty good job on diversity," Pinkston said.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
• For lawyers to be successful at Allergan, they have to make an impact on the company's ­objectives, and ensure that value is delivered to the patients, physicians and payors that utilize Allergan products and services.
• [E]ach person in the law department must be a true professional — a knowledgeable expert in Allergan's business and in our jobs.
• We take training and having standards very seriously.
• We hold ourselves accountable for meeting all of our commitments.
• We hold ourselves and our teammates to the highest ethical standards.
• We make sure we communicate fully and ­frequently.
• We listen. We communicate directly. We don't take it personally.
— Arnold Pinkston, general counsel