From Laboratory to Biotech Lawyer

Heather Kissling, partner and chair of the Biotechnology Practice at Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, draws from over 15 years of experience securing biotechnology patents to develop worldwide filing and prosecution strategies that further clients’ business objectives.

Kissling collaborates with business development personnel, in-house counsel, and bench scientists to maximize protection of biotechnology innovations in a broad range of technologies. Her background in interference and opposition proceedings also benefits clients seeking advice with respect to competitor patent positions and third party challenges in the patent office. Her clients find her to be a forward-thinking advocate who shares their commitment to realizing the maximum value from their intellectual property assets.

Kissling initially envisioned working in a laboratory after graduate school. Instead, she accepted a position as a technical advisor at an IP boutique, unsure whether the profession was a good fit. “I loved the problem-solving aspect of bench work, and found that patent practice allowed me to use similar skills to help industry leaders advance technologies that significantly improve patients’ lives,” she shared. “That leap of faith began an exciting and rewarding career, and I urge those early in their careers to be open to new opportunities. The path you envision is rarely what the universe has in store for you, embrace the detours.”

Kissling is a leading partner in “one of the best biotechnology practices in the country” as ranked by Chambers USA. She is actively involved in the biotechnology community and committed to advancing women in the profession, serving on the Advisory Board of the Chicago chapter of Women in Bio and previously serving on the Biotechnology Industry Organization International Convention Programming Committee. She also serves on the firm’s Professional Development and Orientation Committees, its women’s affinity group, and mentors two female associates.

She holds a J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law, a M.S. in biotechnology from Northwestern University and a B.S. in biology and liberal arts chemistry from the University of Evansville. Her graduate research experience includes residencies at Abbott Laboratories and the Lurie Cancer Center of the Northwestern University School of Medicine.

Among her many accolades, Kissling was selected to the 2014 and 2016 editions of Managing IP’s IP Stars list of the Top 250 Women in IP. Earlier this year, she was named the exclusive winner in the International Law Office Client Choice Awards’ Intellectual Property – Patents category for Illinois. She was selected for inclusion on the Illinois Rising Stars® list, featuring outstanding young attorneys in the state and was designated as an Emerging Lawyer in the 2015-2016 editions of Emerging Lawyers magazine, recognizing the top up-and-coming attorneys in Illinois.