Intellectual Property Lawyer on Front Lines

With her strong legal acumen, leadership and commitment to diversity, Lisa Ferri’s mission is improving the recruitment, retention and promotion of women attorneys across the legal profession.

A partner in the New York office of Mayer Brown, Ferri leads the office’s Intellectual Property group and is on the frontlines in securing and enforcing patents covering innovative biologic therapies. She serves as lead counsel on behalf of high-profile companies in federal courts across the country, covering a broad range of areas from pharmaceuticals and biologics for treatment of HIV/AIDS, cancer, hepatitis, influenza and auto-immunities, to technology for drug delivery systems, research, DNA and medical devices.

Ferri is one of a select few female first-chair trial lawyers racking up major successes for clients, including GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi, in high-stakes patent cases involving blockbuster drugs. She also serves as co-chair of the firm’s global Women’s Leadership Committee and as a Board Member of the Women in Law Empowerment Forum.

She says being a woman in her profession has been both challenging and rewarding. “The field of patent litigation is very male dominated, so over the years I have often been the only woman in the conference room or the courtroom,” she said

Her colleagues say her leadership is paving the way for other women in the profession. Ferri speaks on panels with clients about women and business development, mentors female associates and participates in the firm’s women’s conferences. She has an enviable record in hiring, retaining and promoting women, as Mayer Brown’s New York IP Group is 50 percent women, including the partners. “I feel very satisfied to have contributed to changing the face of patent litigation,” she said.

Ferri holds a law degree from Seton Hall University Law School and B.A. from the University of Virginia. She launched her legal career as a securities class-action litigator and was drawn to life sciences patent litigation after working with the team defending the HIV/AIDs drug AZT in one of the first suits brought pursuant to the Hatch-Waxman Act.  She serves as a member of numerous bar associations and is an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law where she teaches patent litigation.

“Trial lawyers often say that they hate losing more than they love winning. As a competitive person, I get it, and that explains litigation in a nutshell,” she said. “I knew that litigation was for me as soon as I experienced my first big win.”