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Women Leaders in Tech Law 2016 - An Interview with Salima Merani, Ph.D.


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Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear, LLP is pleased to announce that The Recorder has recognized partner Salima Merani, Ph.D. in the 2016 “Women Leaders in Tech Law” list. For the third year, Dr. Merani was among 65 California lawyers selected. Honorees were selected by editors of The Recorder based on their recent accomplishments and their demonstrated ability to lead in major cases and deals within the tech industry.

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Women Leaders in Tech Law 2016 - An Interview with Salima Merani, Ph.D.

  1. 1. Salima Merani,Ph.D. Partner, Knobbe Martens M erani has been the lead intellectual property counsel on deals worth more than $2 billion in the last two years, including two recent deals worth $104 millionand$64million,forcutting-edgecan- cer immunotherapy and gene editing tech- nologies. She was also lead counsel for a  medtech company that was recently ­acquired for $600 million. What’s your biggest pet peeve related to working in the tech sector? Lawyerswhothinkalltechdealsare“onesize fits all” and prepare contracts with pages of boilerplate language and mediocre strategy (if any). In my experience, tech deals can be very different, each benefiting from creativ- ity, imagination and strategic insight. What’s the most valuable career advice anyone’s ever given you? Find a company that is a true meritocracy— find colleagues that value hard work and achievement above all else. Luckily, my first legal intern job was at a law firm that met this extraordinarily high standard—and after 16 years, I’m still here. If I weren’t a lawyer, I’d be … A venture capitalist in the tech industry. Someofthesmartestandmoststrategicfolks I know are VCs. Favoritewaytokilltimeonacross-country flight? Unwinding while watching some download- ed episodes of some Syfy show. No. 1 survival tip in a work crisis: Do not implode, do not procrastinate and do not lose the forest for the trees. I know that’s technically three tips—but if you mess up on any one of them, you simply won’t success- fully manage the crisis. Business figure (living or dead) who you’d most like to have dinner with? Indra Nooyi. I have read several interviews with her and her views on work-life balance are insightful. One word people use to describe you: Strategic. —Greg Mitchell T hey’re helping build new business models and defending them from court challenges. They’re negotiating transformational deals that re- make companies and move markets. And through it all their clients—which run the spectrum from solo entrepreneurs to tech giants—rely on them for a steady hand and sound counsel. How would we describe these attorneys? The same way their clients and colleagues do—calm, levelheaded, persistent, determined, tenacious, strategic, bold. The Recorder’s 2016 Women Leaders in Tech Law are leaders in board rooms and courtrooms across the Bay Area. They can’t wait for Silicon Val- ley to come up with the next batch of inventions to squeeze more time out of each day—and to shorten their commutes. (Think beyond driverless cars… more like Star Trek teleporters.) They wish people would put their devices down during meetings and write shorter emails. And they’ve got some thoughts on how to ensure that the next generation of women are more equally represented in tech law. Ross Todd Bureau Chief s e p t e m b e r 2 6 , 2 0 1 6 w w w . t h e r e c o r d e r . c o m Reprinted with permission from the September 26, 2016 edition of THE RECORDER © 2016 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. For information, contact 877-257-3382 or # 501-09-16-07 Salima Merani, Ph.D. Partner, Knobbe Martens 2040 Main Street, 14th Floor Irvine, CA 92614 949-760-0404