Judith Hasko, Latham & Watkins partner
Judith Hasko, Latham & Watkins partner (Jason Doiy / The Recorder)

Judith Hasko, a partner in Latham & Watkins’ Silicon Valley office, helps her clients ink some of the most significant—and complex—technology-focused transactions in the life sciences sector, spanning spin-out, licensing and codevelopment matters. Before turning to a legal career, she worked in cardiovascular research at Genentech Inc., putting her biopsychology and neurobiology degrees to work.

Q: What is the most challenging thing about negotiating the massive agreements you work on?

A: Crafting comprehensive, legally and technically correct and balanced agreements under tight time lines and in an evolving business environment.

Q: Biggest career accomplishment?

A: With a potential total value of $3.3 billion, the recent biotech strategic collaboration between our client, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, and Celgene Corp. is certainly among the largest preclinical/early clinical deals in the history of the biotech industry. It was particularly challenging because it required such close coordination between the parties’ teams to manage and address a rapid time line and enormously complicated matters. I was highly satisfied that I was able to apply all of my years of transactional experience to help OncoMed achieve such a great result.

Q: What is changing most rapidly in your field?

A: Too much to list. Patent laws, health-care reform, scientific advancements, business structures and business environment, to name a few.

Q: What do you like most about your work?

A: I learn something every day, and work with dedicated and talented people to address practical challenges that help our clients succeed in the market.

Q: Best career advice you ever got?

A: Become a true member of the client team—know the client’s business and earn its trust.

Q: What would you do if you weren’t doing this?

A: If I had the talent, some kind of professional sport.

Q: Guilty pleasure?

A: Reading biographies and travel books, hopefully on a beach somewhere.

Q: Words to live by?

A: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Q: One word others would use to describe you?

A: I suspect “focused” might be one of the responses.

Q: Recent book or movie you’d recommend?

A: “Founding Brothers” by Joseph J. Ellis. Fascinating portrait of the individuals and personalities driving the American Revolution.

Q: Any advice for new lawyers?

A: Be open to opportunities and perform at a consistently high level.

Contact the reporter at callison@alm.com.