Protecting Scientific Breakthroughs

Dr. Brenda Jarrell is one of the most sought after intellectual property attorneys in the world. She’s a trailblazer for pioneering innovative strategies to protect and commercialize groundbreaking scientific discoveries.

As co-chair of Choate, Hall & Stewart’s Intellectual Properties and Life Sciences Groups, Jarrell works to protect cutting-edge technologies for scientific breakthroughs. Companies around the world turn to her because of her scientific expertise and the specialized legal skill set she brings to protect their complex discoveries. Her scientific training spans many disciplines, including theoretical quantum physics, synthetic organic chemistry, and molecular biology.

Like her clients, Jarrell is passionate about the work she does and driven by the opportunity to save people’s lives. She’s respected by experts developing innovations in areas such as small molecule therapeutics, biologics, vaccines, diagnostic technologies, and medicines. If a potentially life-saving innovation can’t be protected, it will likely never be commercialized. By creating value in IP – Jarrell is also bringing investors to the table – playing a critical role in bringing new technologies to the people who need them.

Jarrell’s patents for clients are often the first, or among the first, to be filed in particular life science areas, so many of the strategies she develops are based on “first principles” of both science and law. Her work often becomes a model within the legal sector. Within the life sciences sector, she is frequently sought out as a “knowledge leader” for expert advice on complex or timely issues.

In Jarrell’s view, the most important quality a leader should have is a sense of humor. “Leadership is about maintaining poise, enthusiasm, and creativity in the face of unexpected challenges,” she said. “An ability to maintain a sense of humor under such circumstances helps stabilize those around you, projects confidence, and diffuses stress so the team can bring their best efforts to the task at hand.”

Jarrell says her biggest career leap was leaving academic science to become a lawyer and then joining a firm to practice patent law when she had never even seen a patent. “If something sounds fun, you should try it,” she said. “If you like it, you will invest yourself, which is the best way to achieve excellence.”

Among her numerous accolades, most recently she was named the 2016 Boston Lawyer of the Year for Biotechnology Law by Best Lawyers, the second time she received this designation in the past five years.

Jarrell holds a B.A. and an M.A. in chemistry from Harvard University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California in biochemistry and molecular biology, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Words she lives by: “Bring your highest and best self. Every day. To every task. As a practitioner, as a citizen of your community, as a human being. Always.”