LEADERSHIP IN LAW 2016: Andrew M. McCoy

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Andrew McCoy has emerged as a trusted young leader in the firm’s intellectual property group and recently spearheaded the formation of a new pharmaceuticals/biologics subgroup within the IP practice. Drew was instrumental in identifying a unique argument in a 10-year patent infringement case, leading to summary judgment of non-infringement in favor of the client. He maintains an active pro bono practice and has been named to the firm’s pro bono honor roll. In 2014 and 2015, he devoted more than 230 hours to pro bono service. He volunteers with several nonprofit organizations, including the United Way and the Penrod Society.

mccoy-andrew-15col.jpg (IL photo/Eric Learned)

Why create the pharmaceuticals and biologics subgroup?

I have always been interested in this area of the law and we have a great team of attorneys and professionals who offer world-class service in this industry. Ultimately, the timing was right for us to launch a formal practice group and a team of us agreed to lead the charge. It’s definitely an exciting time for us, and I am honored to be one of the original members of the team.

If you couldn’t be a lawyer, what would you do for a living?

I have always wanted to create and own/operate a restaurant, or maybe a couple of different types of restaurants. A much less realistic “dream job,” however, would be to become a professional golfer.

What is the most important lesson you learned from your mentor?

That we should aspire to be trusted advisers to our clients, and to do that, we have to understand their business, their risk tolerance, and their ultimate goals for each project. To accomplish this, always be prepared and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions.

What can be done to encourage lawyers to take on more pro bono work?

The pro bono work I have done has been some of the most fulfilling work of my career. Not only does it fulfill an important civic duty, it is also a way for young attorneys to gain valuable experience while simultaneously helping those who may not be able to afford legal counsel. There are already several pro bono programs and organizations that do a great job of pairing attorneys with those in need, but there’s always room for more.

What will the legal profession look like in 15 years?

It certainly will be interesting to see how technology continues to impact the profession and how we adapt/evolve with it. In particular, I think it will be interesting to see how data analytics software continues to evolve and whether the insights that can be gained by such tools will result in the billable hour model supplanted by more fixed-fee/project-based types of arrangements.

What was the most memorable job you had prior to becoming an attorney?

I was a server at a steakhouse for a few summers. That job taught me important lessons about the value of hard work, organization, and providing great customer/client service.

Why practice in the area of law you do?

I have a degree in biology and have always been interested in science and technology. IP is an area that allows me to constantly pursue those interests.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Hopefully with a successful business helping clients that I respect and admire solve their problems and achieve their goals. I would also like to say that I accomplished those goals while spending quality time with my wife and kids and continuing to stay involved in community groups and organizations.

What is one misconception people tend to have about what you do for a living?

A lot of my non-lawyer friends think that because I am a litigator that my job is what they see on T.V. They are usually shocked when I explain how infrequently we are actually in court.

What do you like the most about being an attorney? What do you like least?

Most: Helping clients solve their problems — regardless of the complexity of the issue — is always a rewarding experience. Least: The billable hour.

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