Women can excel in different fields

26 Oct 2005 | Network Updates
A leading IP lawyer in Palo Alto, California

Gladys Monroy, Morrison & Foerster

Gladys Monroy begins her days at 5:30 a.m. with exercise (either working out to tapes or using a personal trainer), survives her commute and arrives punctually at what she fondly calls “Mo-Fo,” the nickname for international law firm Morrison & Foerster, where she is co-chair of the patent group.

“I love the challenge of mixing science and law and then adding people skills on top of it,” says Monroy, who is one of only ten attorneys (and three women attorneys) named to the IP Law and Business Patent Prosecution Hall of Fame. She has written or supervised work on at least 300 patents for biotech breakthroughs, including those in areas such as cell-based immunology or cancer-gene therapeutics.

Based in Palo Alto, California, Monroy grew up on the east coast, graduating from Hunter College at 19. She later earned an MS in biology and a PhD in biochemistry from New York University.

When she was on the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, in the early 1980s, Monroy observed that funding was being cut back as young companies were just getting started, and she became interested in patent law as a way to support companies and get funds back into the university system. A top lawyer in intellectual property rights, J. Thomas McCarthy, encouraged her to study law, and a few years later Monroy graduated from the University of San Francisco Law School.

Monroy has observed how more women are studying science and pursuing work in science-related businesses since the early 1980s. She says, “Women have learned that they can excel in different fields and do anything that their heart desires.”

Does Monroy have any plans to slow down? Not if she can help it. Her firm has extended her partnership until she is 70, and Monroy will practise as long as she enjoys it. Even with 10 to 12 hour days, Monroy is still able to slip out of the office on occasion and enjoy a performance of work by Austrian composer Gustav Mahler conducted by her favorite Michael Tilson Thomas.

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