Diane Doolittle, the co-chairwoman of the national trial practices at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, defended Pfizer in Santa Clara Superior Court against a claim of trade secret theft, won on 155 of 162 trade secrets, and limited a potential $1 billion case to a $165,000 verdict.
Who’s the best leader you’ve seen in action and why?
That my answer is a man is proof that we need more women leaders! That said, the head of my firm [John Quinn] is by far the best leader I’ve been exposed to. He’s fearless, visionary and inspiring. He works as hard as any lawyer in the trenches. Yet he finds time to think about the broader picture and execute on big, strategic goals.
If I could change one thing about working in tech, it would be …
To have clients appreciate a little earlier the value of having a good lawyer’s advice. In this fashion, many disputes could be avoided.
The No. 1 issue that keeps me and my clients up at night is …
Plaintiffs who are willing say or do virtually anything to advance their cases.
After the events that have rocked Silicon Valley this year, are you more or less hopeful about the prospects for women in the tech industry?
I remain the eternal optimist. Society is much more aware of the treatment of women (particularly in tech) than it was when I began as a lawyer in Palo Alto more than 25 years ago. There may be miles to go, but given the ongoing conversations, I expect that we are on the road to getting there.
Do lawyers bear any special responsibility in addressing gender stereotyping and discrimination in tech?
Certainly, lawyers are (or should be) more familiar with the rule of law than the average layperson. Increasingly, in-house lawyers in tech, for example, engage diverse outside counsel. As outside lawyers, we regularly train and counsel clients, including on their treatment and views toward women.
What piece of advice do you have for young lawyers in tech?
Tech is an incredibly exciting area in which to practice. Stay current. Embrace technology. Learn about your clients and their products/technology. It will make you a more effective lawyer and probably contribute to a better relationship with your client.
If I weren’t working in tech, I’d be …
Interviewing interesting people on NPR, somewhat like Terry Gross.