Laurie Levin Goodstine
Legal and Compliance Consultant for Life Sciences Companies
Principal at Corps Competency LLC
Laurie Levin Goodstine, a former Goodwin Procter litigation associate from our New York office, talks about her in-house role and how she has found her balance of work and family life.
Good Times at Goodwin
Laurie started her tenure as a litigation associate in Goodwin’s New York office in 2005 and primarily split her time between the IP Litigation and White Collar Criminal Defense Practices. According to Laurie, the deposition skills training at Goodwin was phenomenal and she continues to use those skills every day in different contexts. She is grateful for her experience at Goodwin and credits many Goodwin attorneys with being instrumental in her growth as an attorney, but most notably, Jeff Simes, Ira Levy, Rich Strassberg, Glenn Kerner, Annemarie Hassett, David Hashmall and Sarah Heaton Concannon.
As current attorneys and alumni always say, it is the people at Goodwin that distinguishes the firm. Laurie noted, “Partners really took the initiative to get to know the associates and our life partners. It is a very humane place to work and people are really open and easy to get to know.” Laurie got engaged to her wife during her second year at the firm, and recalls the first time she introduced her fiancée to her co-workers at a partner hosted dinner for junior associates and their guests. “People didn’t necessarily know that about me. I was naïve and worried, and it was nothing to be worried about. It was just very easy to be me,” Laurie said.
In the fall of 2009, after returning from the firm’s special assistant district attorney program at King County District Attorney’s office, Laurie got a phone call from a recruiter. The opportunity was to be counsel at Warner Chilcott, a pharmaceutical company that has now been acquired by Actavis. As a graduate from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, the business professional inside of her was revived. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine her business background with her legal work in the pharmaceutical industry, to serve clients from the inside and to explore whether or not being in-house was for her. While it was a hard decision to leave Goodwin, it was something that Laurie couldn’t pass up. As counsel and eventually senior counsel at Warner Chilcott, she was responsible for providing legal support to all of the U.S. functions, which on any given day included reviewing promotional materials and contracts, delivering sales promotion compliance training, conducting investigations, and directing the company’s aggregate spend effort as well as other cross-functional projects.
Given her experience, Laurie’s advice for someone considering an alternative to large firm practice is to “think about what it is about firm practice that really does motivate you and excite you, whether it’s the intellectual challenges, deal or case management, or expertise in a particular practice area, and then use that information as a springboard for figuring out what to do next. If you’re really serious about figuring out what your next step is, there is also no replacement for getting yourself out there at bar association events or conferences, doing presentations and talking to people about their experiences. As a general matter, people like to talk about themselves – after all, that is an easy topic to be expert on – and they also like to be in a position to help others. You can use LinkedIn as a wonderful tool to create a virtual connection to the people you meet and expand your network so that you are in a position to receive and act on opportunities when they come up, or be in a position to connect other people in your network to opportunities they may be interested in, which creates a lot of goodwill. It sounds calculating, but if you are sincere about it, you are simply building a network of people who share your interests and may one day be your future colleagues, fellow board members, conference co-chairs, mentors, mentees, and even friends.”
Family and Work: A Balancing Act
In 2011, Laurie and her wife were thrilled to find out that Laurie was pregnant with their daughter. At the end of her maternity leave, Laurie determined that she wouldn’t be happy returning to her sixteen-hour-day work schedule at Warner Chilcott, but she wasn’t willing to just walk away from her career either. She wanted to balance being a mom with her commitment and love for what she did professionally. Laurie told her employer that she wouldn’t be able to come back unless she was able to work a flexible schedule. Unfortunately, that flexibility was not available in her role.
What happened next is what Laurie calls “a combination of dumb courage and luck.” She took a risk and gave her notice, but proposed to the Warner Chilcott General Counsel that she continue her work as a contractor. The company immediately embraced her creative vision with open arms and Laurie has been working as contracted in-house counsel since May 2012. She now provides project management and consulting in connection with regulatory compliance, reviews promotion materials and vendor contracts, drafts trainings and provides counsel on commercial issues. “It has been a wonderful thing for my employer and for me because my hours can contract or expand as needed. I have been able to find the balance.” To execute this new role, Laurie formed Corps Competency LLC, which serves Actavis (formerly Warner Chilcott) exclusively, but Laurie formed the company to provide legal and compliance consulting to various life sciences companies with targeted project and counseling needs and expects to begin taking on new clients in the new year.
Laurie’s Advice: Ask For What You Need
Laurie’s story suggests that sometimes you need to “drop out in order to lean in.” Her advice for those with expanding families is to “be true to yourself, be brave and ask for what will work for you.” In reflecting on her most recent professional endeavor she says, “when I was growing up we were pretty much told that we should have it all, and the truth of the matter is that maybe you can at different times in your life, but not all at the same time.” Her flexible schedule has allowed her to find her balance, to spend time with her daughter, to be challenged intellectually and for her daughter to see her in both roles.
Laurie really enjoyed connecting with her colleagues at the New York Alumni Event in October 2013 and welcomes the opportunity to further connect with anyone from the current or former Goodwin community.
To connect with Laurie and other former colleagues, please join our Alumni Linkedin Group.