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What are your areas of practice?
Tom: I’m co-chair of Fox Rothschild’s Medical Technology Practice.
Patrice: I’m Minneapolis Office Administrator for the firm’s Corporate Department and co-chair of the Medical Technology Practice.
How involved is the firm with the Medical Technology industry in Minnesota?
Tom: Fox is one of the leading law firms serving the MedTech industry in Minnesota. Our Minneapolis office’s Medical Technology contingent includes 10 highly experienced partners whose clients include many of the state’s premier startup MedTech companies.
Patrice: As a national firm, we’re able to draw on the collective knowledge of more than 800 attorneys coast-to-coast, in 60-plus practice areas such as corporate, intellectual property, emerging companies and venture capital, health law and technology to provide clients with comprehensive services.
What is the outlook for the MedTech industry in Minnesota in the coming year?
Patrice: The industry continues to thrive here. Minnesota is home to large, established health care and medical technology companies, and continues to attract innovative startups that are catching the eye of major industry players both inside and outside the state. According to the Medical Alley Association, Minnesota is home to 1,000 healthcare companies employing more than 500,000 state residents.
Tom: I think the challenge will be continuing to transition from a state that has been known as a hotbed for companies that produce traditional medical devices to one that is also known for fostering the development of cutting-edge start-ups. That really comes down to attracting talent and funding.
What are the industry’s most pressing legal issues?
Patrice: Our clients face all the typical legal challenges encountered by any business, in addition to technology-related issues involving licensing, patents and intellectual property protection. They also expend significant time and energy on regulatory compliance, both at the state and federal levels. Dealing with uncertainty about the future of health care and the laws that regulate it, particularly at the federal level, has been challenging.
Tom: Data security is also a growing domestic and international concern. Many of our MedTech clients’ products and services involve processing and protecting sensitive personal health information. These products and services are distributed throughout the world. With the European Union, countries such as China, Australia and Canada, and individual U.S. states adopting privacy and data security regulations, compliance can be daunting. But it’s critical. Noncompliance can bring significant fines in some cases, and just as damaging, a loss of customer confidence.
How does Fox Rothschild help its clients address those issues?
Tom: The attorneys of our MedTech practice draw on decades of experience in the industry. We’ve been in the trenches as this sector has grown and evolved in Minnesota. We help clients raise funding, protect intellectual property, comply with state and federal regulations, navigate clinical trials and craft employment agreements and executive compensation plans.
Patrice: We’ve also advised clients on hundreds of transactions over the years, mergers and acquisitions, spin-off transactions, and debt and equity financing. Fox attorneys have worked closely with both investors and companies in venture capital financings and the sales of venture-based companies to large strategic investors. And we have a particularly robust Privacy & Data Security practice that is at the forefront of international privacy law.
What is unique about your firm’s culture? What sets you apart?
Tom: Like our clients in the MedTech sector, Fox Rothschild embraces an entrepreneurial mindset. We look for innovative solutions to clients’ challenges. We’re nimble in the way we provide legal services and resourceful in our approach, looking to provide clients with maximum value. We prioritize responsiveness and client service, providing boutique-level service powered by national firm resources.
Patrice: Our culture is built around listening. We listen to our clients, then we act on what we hear. The same is true internally. We invite our attorneys to innovate, and equip them with a platform to drive client success. That’s why we attract bright and creative attorneys who know how to deliver. It’s how we’ve grown into a national 800+ lawyer firm.
The local legal community is well-known for its commitment to “giving back”. What pro bono work does your firm do that you are most proud of?
Tom: Our Minneapolis office is dedicated to volunteer work because we see it as a key part of our mission as a law firm: to make a meaningful contribution to the Twin Cities community. In that effort, partners, associates and staff members from our Minneapolis office regularly serve lunch at Exodus Residence, a short-term living facility for people with health issues, and read to children at St. Joseph’s Home for Children, a facility that assists children in need. We also support a wide variety of charities including the Sanneh Foundation, The United Way, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities, Reach Out and Read Minnesota and Second Harvest Heartland, just to name a few.
Patrice: When it comes to pro bono work, the Minnesota State Bar Association recognized five of our attorneys as NorthStar Lawyers in 2017. That includes Archana Nath, who co-chairs Fox Rothschild’s firmwide Pro Bono Committee. And in April, the Mitchell Hamline Law Review highlighted Partner Kathy Kimmel’s work with the Tubman Project in presenting her with its Wallace Lerner Award for Excellence in Leadership. In addition to the Tubman Project, which supports low-income victims of domestic violence, we provide pro bono assistance through the Children’s Law Center, the Minnesota Justice Foundation and the Volunteer Lawyers Network, among other groups.
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