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Legal Bisnow
    January 5, 2012  
Did Barnes & Thornburg Save the Country?

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The national unemployment numbers looks good today. Is it possible Barnes & Thornburg's DC office is the reason? It has a new space and its first female DC managing partner, Karen McGee, says her top priority is doubling the size of the office.
Karen McGee

Karen's plans are defined: new federal practices such as FDA and FTC, and growing existing IP, environmental, international trade, and federal procurement groups. Her practice is international trade, where Karen tells us the next big wave of work is cybersecurity. In 2-3 years, she wants the 20-attorney office to be at 40 lawyers. With big plans, come big... headaches? We snapped Karen with a gumball-dispenser gift (filled with Advil) from some of the other ladies in the office, who joked she can't step down until all of those painkillers are finished.

Karen shows us around the new office (it just moved in in March) a block from the White House at 1717 Penn Ave. It has roomier public spaces and glass galore for an open feel. And most importantly, it has options to expand to the floors both above and below its fifth floor spot. Other B&T offices, she says, hire attorneys straight from law school as associates but DC plans to grow with lateral partners.
On our tour of the office, we spotted Commerce's former Chief Counsel for Technology Craig Burkhardt in his festively-decorated corner office. Karen, a mother to three, tells us tech made the difference in keeping work and family demands all in balance. Now that the kids are grown (requiring a lot less oversight at ages 30, 23, and 21) one of her New Year's goals is to travel more internationally. But for now, she spent the holidays at home with her husband, kiddos, and two Shetland sheepdogs.

New Meds Leave FDA a Decade Behind
Areta Kupychyk, Nixon Peabody

As new technologies develop, the FDA wants to ramp up regs but first has to figure out how. Former FDA associate chief counsel Areta Kupchyk (now Nixon Peabody partner) says there's a growing emphasis on personalized medicine, which customizes healthcare to individual patients. But FDA can't regulate each individual's treatment, so it's trying to determine the best way to tackle regulating products that are tailored per person; it'll take 10-20 years for its stance to develop. Cellular and tissue-based products, which compose personalized medicine, are in their earliest stages but Areta tells us FDA's conservative approach is making it fall far behind innovation and providing little guidance.

Areta as FDA associate chief counsel picks up the FDA Commissioner's Special Recognition award, with FDA commissioner Mark McLellan, fellow awardee Peter Beckerman, and FDA chief counsel Dan Troy
Areta picks up the FDA Commissioner's Special Recognition award as associate chief counsel, with FDA commissioner Mark McLellan, fellow awardee Peter Beckerman, and FDA chief counsel Dan Troy. The FDA's also taking unprecedented steps to regulate software, like hospital systems which handle everything from medical records to product ordering. Areta tells us hospitals may not even realize the extent to which the FDA's considering regulating, and it'll be an enormous issue for the FDA to justify. Particularly peeved will be the companies creating the multi-million dollar software, who have never before been subject to FDA regs.

Belated Holiday Cheer
CLC exec director Judith Sandalow and Councilmember Michael Brown
And who can't use some holiday cheer in the post-New Year's blues of January? DC Councilmember Michael Brown is snapped participating in the Children's Law Center Holiday Hope Drive again this year, pausing to chat with executive director Judith Sandalow as Santa's workshop bustles around them. McKenna Long's Trish Hall is at the wrapping station, working on a pile of goodies for disadvantaged and neglected DC children. CLC attorneys and investigators later delivered the gifts to more than 700 kids in time for for the holidays.
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