May 7, 2019
In this episode, I speak with Bob Licht, a partner in both the Life Sciences and Business and Technology Companies Groups at the law firm Choate Hall & Stewart in Boston. Bob is an experienced business attorney who focuses on corporate and transactional work for life sciences companies. Prior to joining Choate, he spent 8 years as Chief Corporation Counsel for Biogen.
I’ve known Bob for over 20 years and more than any lawyer I know, Bob has been great at reinventing himself every few years.
If you are like most attorneys, you went to law school because you were looking for a challenging career that would provide you with opportunities to keep learning and growing. In a law firm, this might mean serving a range of clients. Each new client presents a chance to learn about a new company and maybe even a new industry.
For lawyers who go in-house, growth may come from expanding the scope of the work. A lawyer who joins a corporate law department because she understands corporate transactional work and governance may also find herself handling day to day employment issues, IP, real estate and even litigation.
But what happens when you go in-house and you decide you would like to try out a new industry, maybe one that is growing rapidly like biopharma. How do you make the transition from a more conventional business to an industry where you have limited experience?
Bob Licht is someone who has done this several times in his career. After law school, he began practicing at the old Boston firm, Hill and Barlow. Hill and Barlow no longer exists but in its heyday, it was one of the top firms in Boston. After more than a decade at Hill and Barlow, Bob decided it was time to go in-house and he joined Harcourt General, a publishing, specialty retail, motion picture exhibition and corporate venture capital business.
Since then, he has held positions in financial services, a large supermarket chain, a startup grocery delivery company and at one of the largest biopharma companies in the world, Biogen.
I get together with Bob every so often and I’ve always been impressed with the way Bob has used his network to find the next opportunity. Today Bob has come full circle and he is back in private practice. We are going to discuss how he managed to change industries so many times and what is was like to take on these new challenges.