Posts Tagged ‘James’

James Cullem Explains Role of Chief Counsel in an Early-Stage Technology Company

In Business on May 29, 2014 at 4:01 am

James CullemAccording to biotech patent attorney and two-former Chief Counsel James Cullem, an early-stage technology company can only reach its maximum potential with the assistance of a talented and proactive Chief Counsel.

Presentation Solutions: We appreciate you calling in this afternoon. Welcome!

James Cullem: My pleasure.

Presentation Solutions: Let’s talk a little bit about the role of Chief Counsel. What specific company titles does the Chief Counsel typically carry?

James Cullem: The names may change – In-House Counsel, Senior Counsel, General Counsel, Chief I.P. Counsel, Chief Patent Counsel – but the duties generally remain the same. This highly skilled and proficient individual oversees important legal issues and activities related to the company’s overall operations.  In the case of a Chief Counsel who is also a Registered Patent Attorney, that individual will also directly oversee and manage the company’s strategic intellectual property (I.P.) activities, including development and exploitation of worldwide patent and trademark portfolios.

Presentation Solutions: What is the primary focus of the Chief Counsel in an early stage technology company?

James Cullem: The Chief Counsel at an early-stage company is typically tasked with handling a broad array of legal issues common to an early-stage enterprise:  employment policies and contracts; intellectual property asset issues (patents, trademarks, copyright, trade secret, license and collaboration agreements); corporate governance and finance issues; real estate matters; dispute resolution; and the like.

Presentation Solutions: How might the Chief Counsel interact with and manage outside counsels?

James Cullem: The in-house Chief Counsel will typically have their own area of legal specialization, such as I.P. (requiring a Registered Patent Attorney), or employment law, or corporate governance and finance, etc.   As such, the Chief Counsel may directly handle matters within their area of specialization, while retaining outside counsel (law firms) to handle other subject matter areas.  Dispute resolution (i.e. active litigation and pre-litigation dispute matters) always require the assistance of outside counsel.  In all situations, the Chief Counsel is responsible for overseeing and managing the efforts of retained outside counsel, to ensure that the best interests and needs of the company are being efficiently met.

Presentation Solutions: Does the Chief Counsel require any special certification?

James Cullem: Any in-house Counsel must be a licensed attorney, which means (here in the U.S.) that they have graduated with a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree and have passed the Bar exam to become licensed as an attorney in at least one state.  Additionally, if the Chief Counsel is also a Registered Patent Attorney, it means that they have passed the difficult, speciality Patent Bar exam and have a suitable technical/scientific background required for their area of specialization (e.g. medical devices, proteomics, small-molecule therapeutics, etc.).

Presentation Solutions: Can you explain the reasoning behind this requirement?

James Cullem: Many legal issues – for example, shareholder, contractual, and/or real estate rights – are completely controlled by the laws and regulations of the particular state in which the company sits. Accordingly, fluency in those state-specific laws will be crucial in making the right decisions to guide the company.  Other legal areas, such as patent laws and maritime laws, are centrally governed by Federal Laws, and thus are not state-specific and do not require specific state credentials.

Presentation Solutions: What are the leading qualities of a quality Chief Counsel candidate, in your opinion?

James Cullem: A longtime attorney with a diversity of interests and experiences is often the best bet. Specialists, on the other hand, should generally be avoided, unless the activities and challenges facing the company are focused in a particular area.  For example, a biotechnology company that has robust R&D activities generating novel inventions and products that are essential to competitive advantage would benefit from a Chief Counsel that is also a registered biotech Patent Attorney.  A real estate management company, as another example, would obviously benefit from a Chief Counsel with real estate law specialization, even though that person might also oversee other matters, such as contracts, employment matters, and corporate governance.

Presentation Solutions: With whom does the Chief Counsel collaborate on a daily basis?

James Cullem: The Chief Counsel will work closely with executive management of the company, as well as all Department Heads and with inventors within the R&D groups of the company.  He/she will also works directly and regularly with a number of other outside counsels/attorneys who can offer guidance in litigation, taxes, financial matters and other core subject areas.

Presentation Solutions: This has been a highly informative chat. Thank you for the insight!

James Cullem: You’re most welcome. I hope this information will be of assistance to your readers.

As an accomplished veteran of the biotechnology industry, James Cullem continues to share his expertise with members of the legal and biotechnology communities.

Dr. James D. Sterling Discusses his Work with Dr. Louis Ormont

In Health and Beauty on December 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm
Dr. James D. Sterling

Dr. James D. Sterling

New York-based Dr. James D. Sterling has worked with some of the foremost experts in the field of psychotherapy. For more than twenty years, Dr. James D. Sterling studied with one of history’s greatest group psychotherapists. Dr. Louis Ormont, who died in 2008, was a luminary in group therapy, and Dr. James D. Sterling uses many of the techniques he learned from Dr. Ormont in his practice today. Dr. James D. Sterling, Director of the New York Center for Psychotherapy, recently spoke with Presentation Solutions about his work with Dr. Ormont.

Presentation Solutions: You specialize in couples’ therapy. How did working with Dr. Louis Ormont help shape your theory of therapy today?

Dr. James D. Sterling: Dr. Ormont was a celebrated mind in group psychotherapy. One of his most inspiring virtues was his kindness, warmth, great understanding of people. He was always supportive and encouraging. He recommended what has become the great maxim of my therapy practice with both individuals and couples: Before you say anything to a person of significance, the first thing you must ask yourself is, “How will what I’m going to say going to affect the relationship?”

Presentation Solutions: He actually used the group as part of the therapy experience, from what I understand.

Dr. James D. Sterling: Yes. Dr. Ormont believed that the group was the agent of change. His theory is that the therapist acts as a catalyst to promote and facilitate group members to interact with each other in a very specific manner.

Presentation Solutions: How does the therapist do this?

Dr. James D. Sterling: First, it’s important to understand Dr. Ormont’s five theoretical pillars. These are the observing ego, the insulation barrier, generative communication, immediacy, and the group as a maturational agent. Most of the theoretical pillars are useful in individual and couples therapy and that’s where I usually employ them.

Presentation Solutions: Could you describe these in more detail?

Dr. James D. Sterling: Absolutely. The observing ego is an individual’s ability to sit back and watch group interactions. The insulation barrier is a person’s personal boundaries that, when healthy, protect the ego, even when surrounded by extreme negative stimuli. Generative communication is the ability to communicate with great psychological maturity, and immediacy is the belief that interpersonal communication can create positive change. Finally, Dr. Ormond described a belief that a group could be used as a maturation agent to promote positive change in each of its members.

Presentation Solutions: And the therapist works with all of these?

Dr. James D. Sterling: The therapist, understanding each of the five pillars, uses the pillars to build techniques that strengthen a group.

Presentation Solutions: I have read that Dr. Ormont also talked about a “group contract.” Can you explain what that is?

Dr. James D. Sterling: Dr. Ormont always developed a contract with a group. Each member agrees to follow the terms of that contract at all times.

Presentation Solutions: When group therapists speak of Dr. Ormont’s bridging techniques, what does that refer to?

Dr. James D. Sterling: Bridging is an intervention used by a group therapist to “bridge” interactions between group members to better facilitate a session, like asking another group member to comment on the expressed concern of a different group member. This strengthens the emotional ties between members, helping them to “identify and resolve one another’s resistances to making personal discoveries and establishing new relations,” rather than attacking group members and tearing them down.

Presentation Solutions: There are several different techniques for doing this…

Dr. James D. Sterling: Yes. The techniques a therapist may use when bridging are individual member support, energizing the group, increasing participation by individual members, building cohesion of the group, and ensuring each member feels safe throughout the session.

Presentation Solutions: What do you mean when you say “safe?”

Dr. James D. Sterling: Safety in this context means making sure interactions are constructive and positive, nurturing growth in group members, rather than tearing group members down. It can be a tricky balance; the job of the therapist is to help facilitate this for each member of the group.

Dr. James D. Sterling regularly puts his years of training to use at New York Center for Psychotherapy. Additionally, Dr. James D. Sterling passes on his knowledge by supervising young psychologists and psychiatrists in their practice through his work as an Assistant Clinical Professor at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York.