Jamie Graham: 0:00
Being first it's, it's.. The idea is to bring others up and bring them up to join you and then, then you're not lonely anymore.
April Isaacson: 0:15
Welcome to Sidebars, Kilpatrick Townsend's limited podcast series focused on women and patent law. I'm April Isaacson , a patent litigator and partner in the San Francisco office.
Kimberlynn Davis: 0:27
And I'm Kim Davis, a patent prosecutor and partner in the Atlanta office. We're here to discuss the gender gap in the patent bar and have candid conversations with female patent practitioners on their career paths. Welcome back to Sidebars! I have the absolute pleasure of introducing you to Jamie Graham , the Associate Director and Senior Counsel of Animal Health Patents and Intellectual Property at Boehringer Ingelheim USA. Jamie comes to us as our former partner and forever mentor. Jamie was a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, having spent 30 years with the firm. Her practice focused on intellectual property issues involving biological and chemical technologies, particularly in the areas of biotechnology, diagnostics, immunology, and pharmaceuticals. Jamie has a true passion for immunology and virology and her bench work ranges from conducting enzyme isolation and characterization research at Sloan Kettering to cardiac and allergy drug disposition research at Boehringer Ingelheim. Her research even extended to a stint with the CDC where she conducted HIV research in neuroimmunology and virology there. Jamie's expertise and contributions in IP law have been widely recognized in the community, having been listed in the Best Lawyers of America® for Biotechnology and Life Sciences Law and Patent Law in 2021, but also get this, each of the 22 years immediately proceeding this.She was also named the Atlanta "Lawyer of the Year" in Biotechnology Law by Best Lawyers and has received numerous nods from Super Lawyers and the International Who's Who of Business Lawyers and Patent Lawyers. Jamie, welcome to Sidebars.
Jamie Graham: 2:26
Thank you, Kim. It's an honor to be here.
Kimberlynn Davis: 2:30
Thanks so much. So we're going to start with the same question we start with all of our guests because it helps us to kick off the discussion. So Jamie, tell us, what made you pivot from science to law?
Jamie Graham: 2:41
So I was working at Sloan Kettering and decided that I was not cut out to sit at the bench all day because I kept talking to people all the time and interrupting their experiments. So, I was taking graduate courses at SUNY Purchase , Sloan -Kettering had full reimbursement policy, so I was experimenting, taking a lot of computer courses , Fortran was, was one that I was having fun with. But , I thought about medical school, law school, business school, and going for a PhD, but I decided that law school was the shortest route to the highest income. And also , I was sailboat racing with a friend of my dad every summer. We used to go for a week on Long Island Sound and race from port to port, with a whole group of people. And during one of those very long legs of the race , Bob, who was an inventor, he was a chemist with American Cyanamid in Stanford, Connecticut. He suggested , he goes, I want you to be a patent attorney. And I said, well, what is a patent attorney? Never having heard of it. And he said, these are the people that attempt to write my patent applications and they do a horrible job and I have to write my own. So I want you to, to become a patent attorney, then you'll be my patent attorney. You can write my patents and then they will be good. And so I must, I must confess, I never wrote Bob's patent applications. You know, American Cyanamid had their own counsel and, and I, I had already moved to Atlanta. So then I took the LSAT, applied to law school, got in and I thought, okay, yes, this is it. And so I came down to Emory to go to law school.
April Isaacson: 4:18
Well, you know, what's funny, Jamie, is, my dad was a sailboat racer on Long Island Sound. His name was Bob, but he did not work at that company. Yeah. So I actually grew up sailboat racing as well. That's really interesting. And one of the things I know you and I have in common is we are both very proud graduates of Seven Sisters Women's Colleges. You went to Wellesley College. Can you talk about how that experience, where women were leading, everything changed your course and prepared you to get into the world where really men were leading things for the most part.
Jamie Graham: 4:52
It completely changed my life. I went to Wellesley because of where it was and because it had a brand new science center, not because it was a women's college. My mother had had a friend who went to Wellesley and she kept saying, you must go look at Wellesley, you must go. And I'm like, I don't want to go to a girls' school. I want to go somewhere where there's, where you know, where I can find dates and, and, but mom persisted and mom was right. I went to look at the campus that my parents took me. We, we did a couple of different schools and I looked at Wellesley, I absolutely fell in love with it. It was the campus, it was the beautiful architecture, and its proximity to Boston, and the brand new science center, which was just opening. And I thought, this is, I knew I wanted to major in, in the biological life sciences area. And so this was perfect. So I went to Wellesley and they had amazing speakers. And I would just, you know, I was like, I'm not interested in any of this, but I went and I was, I was influenced. The head of the college was a woman. The, the president of the college was a woman. The head of everything, the newspaper was my roommate was the editor of the newspaper. Women ran the radio station, women ran everything at the, at the school. So I got used to this. So you could, you could go to class with no makeup on , just kind of roll out of bed and into class. That was, that was a time saver, which was wonderful. And it just kind of grew on me and the connections, the Wellesley , alumni network is amazing. So it was really, and it was a fabulous education. I really must , must say the education itself. Once you learned that a , B was a good grade, which was a hard thing to learn, but it, it, it was a fabulous, fabulous school. It was really, really difficult. And , so my first job was at Jones & Askew in Atlanta. And I swear, the only reason I got that job was because James Zimmer's grandmother went to Wellesley. So he knew what, what school was about and, and the confidence that Wellesley gave me to be a leader to just speak my mind, to, to be myself. Really it's, you know, now you hear it all over the place, but those were unique attributes back when I was in college.
April Isaacson: 7:14
Well, I know you were nine years ahead of me in college. So I know the confidence that I got from going, and actually it's funny, I went to Mount Holyoke college, and one of the reasons I went is when I went on the campus tour, they had an SCM and a TEM for the microscopes, and I was really nerdy and I was super excited about it, which is why I decided to go there. So I , I love that story, Jamie. And you really are a trailblazer because when I think about it, you know, graduating in the late seventies from a women's college and coming into this world, that at the time there was this women's rights movement at the same time, things were led by, by men. Can you talk about some of the , the firsts that you've had as a woman?
Jamie Graham: 7:54
Sure. So when I was a scientist, there were no barriers at all. It was, I mean, there were lots of my, my boss at Boehringer Ingelheim was a woman from Wellesley. So, I mean, that kind of shows you the connection. So I didn't notice anything. And, and Wellesley had said, when you go out into the world, be , be careful, you, you are going to have things happen to you. You are going to be discriminated against, so just be prepared for it and , and just plow through it. And so the , the first job at Jones & Askew, which was a fabulous firm, I was the only woman. And , and they didn't know quite what to do with me. They would try to include me, but they weren't quite sure how, and, and there were occasions where I'd be in a big meeting with a client and copies would need to be made and I would be the one asked to go make the coffee, the coffee, and the copies. And what I learned to do was to go out into the hall, find a staff person, and say, "would you please make these copies?" And then they would bring it back. And then I go back into the meeting and then they bring it in. And which, which was exactly the way to handle that. The other thing was that the , the child raising part of it was, was also a bit experimental. And so when I decided to have my first child, which was pretty early in my career, I could not work a 10 hour day, which is what I was doing. And , you know, I'm at 10 hours. And so I decided that's when I decided to go in-house that I went in-house with a small startup biotech company, and it was much easier. And then I decided to go to graduate school. So I was, I was kind of leapfrogging and making ends meet while I had small children at home. So that, that was, that was sort of another first for me, was to be not only a female, but a female attorney in a law firm with ta child. And then I ended up going back to Jones & Askew, I mean , with, with the second child and they were absolutely completely gracious about it, but that was , that was a bit of a time difference and times had totally changed. So I was, I was the first one to request a reduced hours. So when I went back to Jones & Askew, that was my agreement, I said, I am not working 10 hours a day and I will work 80%. And they were like, fine.
Kimberlynn Davis: 10:18
So we're all feeling the impacts of your ability to advocate for women in a way that only you can do you, you have such a grace behind , every movement that you make, even though it's very strategic, you have a way of , finding a common ground with someone to in the end get what you need. Now, you mentioned a lot of firsts just now, Jamie, but there's one first that I need to highlight for all of our listeners. You were the first registered woman practitioner in all of that Atlanta. This was in 1986, correct?
Jamie Graham: 10:52
Kimberlynn Davis: 10:53
And there were only what, 25 or so practitioners in the Atlanta area as a whole, at that point, right? And to be the first woman who successfully passed the Patent Bar, let's go back to that year. Tell us about that and any encounters that you, you faced along that path?
Jamie Graham: 11:13
Well, when I went to take the Patent Bar review course, which there was only one course at the time, and it was given in Washington, D.C., and it was a full week long. And I was the only woman in the room. And I was like, "oh dear, here we are again." And the professor, the instructor and the owner of the company, he kind of took a shine to me. And so he would be calling on me for all the answers. Fortunately, I had been working at Jones & Askew over a year before I took the Patent Bar course, and I had read, there was a whole volume set of those kind of brownish purple books. I had read it all before I got to the course. So I knew the answers to a lot of his questions. And maybe that's why he called me. I don't know, but it was a bit disconcerting. And then, you know, everybody would go out for dinner afterwards, which was a little strange, but I got used to it. It was , I had always had men, boys as friends, all through high school. They were dear friends of mine. So I had no trouble just, just going out with the guys , which is what I did during that conference. But, but that was, that happened a lot. And then there were more and more biology, chemistry... You don't see as many women in the electrical field. Brenda Holmes is also a trailblazer. But in the biological area, a lot of women recognize that patent law was the way to go.
April Isaacson: 12:46
Jamie, have you ever had any situations where you've been in a big room—this has happened to me numerous times over my career, there's like 30 people in the room—and then all of a sudden you realize that you're the only woman?
Jamie Graham: 12:56
Yes, yes I have. And what I also noticed early on, and I've heard this repeated by others recently, which is funny because I was like, "well, that happened to me 25 years ago." I'd be in a room and I'd make a comment. I make a suggestion and there would be absolute dead silence. And then the topic would change. And I was like, "okay, I guess it wasn't a really good idea." And not five minutes later, someone else would come up with the same thing and everybody would be all over him saying, oh, Steve, what a wonderful idea. And I'm like, what , what, what, what, what did you , and finally I realized , okay, I wasn't speaking loud enough. I have a loud voice. I mean, Kim, you know, when I speak all the doors down the hall shut because my voice carries. I was like, I can't believe that I'm too quiet. Anyway, I don't know what was going on. But when there were more women in the room, a second woman in the room, we made a pact. And I said, "if you say something, I will repeat it loud. And if I say something, you will repeat it and make comment about it." And then we got traction and that worked like a charm.
Kimberlynn Davis: 14:05
You know what? You actually taught us that trick. You , you probably don't remember it because you've taught us so many tricks and tips along the way, just as we're grabbing coffee. But I remember you saying exactly that, and you're right. It does work like a charm. So that , that brings us to a very important discussion. If we can transition here, you've been such a huge advocate for women in general in our lives and how they change as we get older. So for instance, the phase that I'm in right now, it's tough having and raising children as you've noted. And it's also tough taking care of your elderly parents as they age and more and more are facing that. It's so funny that as I was getting ready for our interview today, I just happened to be scrolling on LinkedIn and saw an article by Caroline Fairchild and the header, I'm going to read it to you, was "Women Aren't Opting Out of Returning to Work, They Just Lack the Choice." Give us your thoughts on that, Jamie, I would love to hear your insight on this topic.
Jamie Graham: 15:10
Well, my heart really goes out to those of you who have small children at home, and you're expected to homeschool them and told to do your full-time job at the same time that that's impossible. And I reached impossible at one point. I was, I , I was always doubling up so I could, I could work and have children. I could go to school and have children. I could not work, go to school, and have children. I tried that, it didn't work. And you have to know when it's time to throw in the towel. But , what I did was I just, I just found really, really helpful people to help me, including grandparents. So my parents were young enough and , and my husband's parents were young enough to do a lot of the babysitting of my children. And I knew they were in very good hands because if I hadn't, I couldn't have done it. But I don't know how you, you do that alone unless you have a , I mean, it's , it's Sheryl Sandberg and I've read a , read her book and I actually cried because she said, what you need is a very, very supporting spouse. And if you have that, I think you can do it. I was in a situation where, where , my husband at the time was also a big partner in a large law firm. And he was working 10 hour days. So it just, there was just no time and something had to give, and I was not letting the children suffer. I just could not do that. And right now it's , it's my father. So I do take care of him. But, but what I did was found someone to come in and they're with him every day 9–5. So I feel comfortable 9–5, and then I'm back on duty, but if as needed, but , you, just, you have to have help. You cannot do it alone. You will, you will burn the bridge at both ends. And it won't, it won't be good.
April Isaacson: 16:58
Jamie, as someone who also had to take care of ill parents , during my career, how have you seen that maybe people appreciate that women have children that they have to bring up, but maybe don't understand that as you get to a different point in your life, then you have these other caregiving needs that might be a sick parent, for example?
Jamie Graham: 17:17
I wish that the Family Medical Leave Act extended or however, the rules are interpreted to include time off for, for , caring for your parents. And I always said that was my next mission. And I'm afraid I didn't get very far with that one, but that's a tough nut to crack. I mean, there was no family leave for children. When I was, when I had children, there was none . If you took off you, you might have a job when you come back, you might not. It was all up to the discretion of the employer. Having elderly parents, it's worse than little children in a way, because they know, and they are calling you and texting you and saying, "Where are you? And I'm sick and I need you." And you're like, "I've got a conference call." And they're like, "well, I don't care." I want you to come and take care of me. So , babies don't do that. And babies just scream. But , but, but someone else can placate a baby. No one else can placate your mother. Your mother wants you. You it's got to be you. So , luckily my father took care of my mother when she was ill. And now, I take care of my father. Now that my mother's gone.
April Isaacson: 18:27
Yeah, it is, it is tough because you're right, you have an adult, but yet they don't have the ability to really care for themselves anymore. And then there would become some, I would say, stubborn behavior. That's kind of childlike when you're dealing with an adult that doesn't want you to tell them what to do, yet they need you. I'll try to take up the torch to carry on your efforts, to try to get that to be something that's really recognized, because I know it , it is a very important thing that comes up as we transition to being over 50. And one of the other things, Jamie, along those lines, I saw something recently that was a Forbes article that was about women over 50 and knowing your value and talking about highlighting the demographics of those of us over 50 and really understanding the accomplishments that , that have been done by women in that age group. Can you talk a little bit about kind of how your career and things have transitioned for you as you you've kind of grown in your career?
Jamie Graham: 19:25
Well, it's a lot easier now than it was when I started out. I don't know if it's just a, that the world has caught up with me or I've caught up with the world, but there , there are various things that you have to take into account. I'd say probably one of the women I admire most is Madeline Albright. She was way ahead of all of us. And it's quite interesting. So Madeline Albright, Hillary Clinton, and I all have, they all went, we all went to Wellesley and we all have years where our reunions are the same. So they are always there at my five-year reunion, the way the math works out. And they usually speak , I don't, but , I sat with Madeline Albright on the bus to one of her, one of her presentations, and she's a little bitty thing, but wow. The power that, that woman just exudes on a bus, is just amazing. So I watched those people and I also, would read my Wellesley, newsletter and, and see what other women were doing. I mean, there are some amazing women, but they were very few and far between, but what Madeline Albright said, there's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women. And Madeline Albright has definitely done that. And I took that on as my goal as well. So it's, it's very important for those few at the top to help the little bit more further down. And then now there are lots, lots more women, but I, when I look back now and see what, how women are doing amazing things at 35, I, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm a bit remorseful because that was not available to me at that age. It just wasn't. So, go for it. I'm all in favor. And I , I applaud them.
Kimberlynn Davis: 21:20
And we're thankful to you, I'm not 35 mind you, but as the 30-somethings, we're very thankful for the path that you blazed for us. And even in your leadership at Kilpatrick Townsend, let's highlight some of that for you. CLS—that's the Chemistry and Life Sciences team leader—you didn't have a short stint at this. You were the team leader for 11 years. You were on the Partnership Committee, the Shares Committee, the Diversity and Inclusion committee, the Women's Initiative head for Atlanta. And you even co-founded Women in Bio in Atlanta. How have you used such positions to promote women?
Jamie Graham: 21:59
Well, I would say first of all, as my, with my team leader position, I was in a position to do a lot of hiring. And I don't know if you've noticed Kim, but if there was a qualified female for the position that was open, I would hire the female because they were rare. I mean, to find a woman was difficult and, and if they didn't have the qualifications, they were out, but if they had the same or better qualifications than the men, as they did in many circumstances, I would hire the women. And so as you know, our, our floor, our 22nd floor had to install extra toilet paper rolls in the bathroom because there were so many women on our floor that we, we overused the supply. And you go to another floor, you're not going to find that. That may be a bit , biological there . But, but that is an example. And then I did have a man, tell me, during an interview, "I've heard that you never hire men." And I was like, "that's not true. I do. I do." And then I tried to be a little more even with it, but, but then there were , the , the playing field was a lot more even. So it was easier to be , non , judgmental about, about the men, but the men were a wee bit arrogant during interviews and the women were not. I, I just find women to be very hard workers and very intelligent. And so I would hire them anytime.
April Isaacson: 23:27
Well, Jamie, it's really funny the bathroom story, because I remember I had , a very contentious, preliminary injunction hearing that was in North Carolina, in federal court. And we were in the bathroom, the other partner and I, that was female. And then we ran into two of the women from the other team. And we were kind of like, you let's take a break for a moment and just appreciate that this bathroom is full, the women's bathroom is full cause normally you're the only one. So I love, I love that point.
Jamie Graham: 23:55
Well, I remember going , I remember going to a , kind of like a closing meeting. It was a closure like after a deal had been done and everybody was meeting around the room and I was in some boardroom. I think it might be the, one of the clubs downtown and , and around the room were the, were the pictures of all of the presidents of that club and every single one was a white man and I remarked on it. And here I am, I'm like 25 and I'm like "why are all the pictures of white men," you know, and everybody kind of looks at me and there's silence, but I would just raise those, those questions. And if there is right now, I can be really picky. So I was signed up for a seminar, it was an IP seminar, it was online. I signed up, it was like supposed to be really, really good. Every single presenter on the panel was a white man. I logged off. It's like, Nope, not doing it, not giving you the credit of having me as your audience for something that you could not find more diversity on your panel. The diversity is a key issue.
Kimberlynn Davis: 25:07
Absolutely. Absolutely. And let me just say, I can speak to that, that you definitely , were all in favor of bringing on female practitioners. You actually onboarded my team, which was, I think we were all women. We had an all women team . So , so that was absolutely awesome. But I also want to highlight that you don't discriminate against men. You found one of our , new, he's almost an associate at this point. He's in law school at night and get this listeners, Jamie interviewed him while he was her Uber driver, was it, or Lyft driver ?
Jamie Graham: 25:43
Kimberlynn Davis: 25:44
Tell us about that. How did you spot talent in your Uber driver?
Jamie Graham: 25:48
Well, I was going to an American Chemical Society dinner meeting with my husband and , which are always fascinating. I think it might've been the science of chocolate. I think I might've been mischief chocolate. It was, it was a fantastic presentation . And so I live quite close to it is that Mary Mac's was, I think, where the, where the dinner was and the Uber driver picks us up and, and you know, me, I just start, oh, we're going to Mary Mac's and we're going to go to an American Chemical Society dinner on the science of chocolate. And he goes, "oh yeah, I saw that, that looks really interesting." I'm like, "what do you mean you saw that?" And he goes, "well, I'm a member or somehow knew about the American Chemical Society , dinner meeting." And I was like, you know, I mean, this is a five block commute. Okay? This is a short ride. And, and anyway, so he's a chemist, he's a PhD chemist, material science. I mean, he was everything we had been looking for for years. And so I was like, "hey, do you have a resume by any chance?" And so I gave him my card and said, please send it to me. And it worked.
Kimberlynn Davis: 26:59
So we glossed over this a little bit, Jamie, you mentioned it earlier, but you were in law and then you went back to the lab, back to science officially, and then back to law again, tell us what prompted that transition.
Jamie Graham: 27:14
Well, I, okay. I was , talking to a client and the client was, was a molecular biologist and he was going on and on and on about genes and promoters and, and sequences and all these things that had been talked about in undergraduate, but really hadn't, I really hadn't learned it. I mean, it hadn't been discovered yet. Genetic engineering had not, I mean, it was, it was, there were some people at MIT dabbling in it, and that was it. And you know, of course I was close to that. So it got the, it made the news, but that's when Sarah was little and my older daughter and , and I thought graduate school, and master's PhD in the molecular biology areas , what I need right now. And so that's what I did. So I went back to graduate school. It was really hard. Try that with , with a little baby. First of all, I was the oldest person in the class. They all had all evening to play. I did not. But it was fascinating. So yes, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed being back at Emory being back in the academics, but they knew I wanted to be, I mean, it was I knew I was going back to law. I was not staying in science to stay in science. And I got a little bit , pushed, got a lot of pushback for that, because the professors wanted me to be their protege and promote their name, you know, what it's like, and that was not my intent. And I made it quite clear that I was going to get the degree. I even had one professor say , say to me, "so you're just going to get your degree and go back to law , back to law and make a lot more money than me." And I said, "yes."
Kimberlynn Davis: 29:07
Oh , wow. Wow. No, I, I definitely know that feeling when, you know, an advisor realizes you don't want to be a mini version of them. Same deal in graduate school. Not with my advisor, thankfully, but so many in the department had that position. So what about Jones & Askew, were they supportive of your move to, to take some time and deepen your science-base?
Jamie Graham: 29:32
It was actually Kilpatrick. So I had, I had gone, I told you I I've done everything backwards, completely inside, out and backwards and two at a time, but, but I was at Jones & Askew, left to go in-house, left in-house to go back to graduate school. And they were like, fine. And , and the plan was, I was going to work while I was in graduate school with a baby. That was when that's not, that was not working. So I gave up the day job because I was in classes all day , and, and, and was in school. So, so then in the summer, I didn't realize that graduate school was a , was a , a 12 month a year. And I had asked John Pratt at Kilpatrick, if I could be a summer associate. And he goes, "oh, yes." And so there, I went from being like a five-year lawyer to being a summer associate, which was something I'd always wanted to do. So I got to be a summer associate with a whole lot of experience, and that was at Kilpatrick. And then everybody I worked with at Kilpatrick decided to have their babies then—the two women I was working with— and so they asked me to stay so that I could cover for them while they went out on maternity leave. So I, so I ended up staying a lot longer than just the summer. I stayed for two years and then went back and finished with my masters . That's , that's why everything kinda got truncated a bit. And , and out of sequence was because I, I was piecemealing it all together.
April Isaacson: 31:05
Jamie, I know that you have a real passion for the research, and that's one of the reasons that you decided to go back to Boehringer Ingelheim. I also know that you're very passionate about researcHERS and some of the volunteer work and that you do with the American Cancer Society. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Jamie Graham: 31:22
Oh, sure. Thank you for that plug. So I, yes, I wanted to get more involved with organizations that were involved in, in health and wellness and, and pharmaceuticals and treatments. The American Cancer Society was always on my radar. And I tried coming in from various angles and, and eventually got the attention of, of the Georgia chapter and was asked to be on their board. So I joined the, the Georgia Chapter of the Atlanta Cancer Society about two or three years ago. And they've just launched a new initiative last year, right in the heart of the , of the pandemic, like last April to have this researcHERs with the HERs spelled with the capital letters to raise funds, to fund the female researchers in cancer research. And there, there are few, but , but not enough. And , so that's, that's what I did last year. And we, we, we got it, we did it. We , we met our goal last year, believe it or not even in the midst of the pandemic. And so we're right now in the middle of our , campaign for 2021. So , Google researchers + Atlanta, or researchers + Georgia, and you will find me and I would appreciate your donations, but , this is not a plug for that
Kimberlynn Davis: 32:49
But we'll make it really easy for the listeners and put it in the show notes as well. So that'll be a good way they can access it, absolutely for such a worthy cause. So Jamie, tell me, I just, I have to ask you this. After 30 years of practice at Kilpatrick, you recently embarked on a new venture, and I want you to definitely share with us your experience, but before you do it as a way to introduce it, what ultimately tips the scales in favor of leaving the tried and true and doing something completely—well I shouldn't say say completely different, but doing something different after so long?
Jamie Graham: 33:28
Well, my father thinks I'm absolutely crazy and has told me so many times. It's what I wanted to do. I have done everything that I wanted to accomplish at Kilpatrick. I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I did spend a lot of time this past, you know , 12 months studying the vaccines, studying the COVID vaccines. I, I, you, you actually published one of , one of the , articles that I wrote. And it was because my daughter had asked, she goes, "this is too confusing. Can you just write up like what vaccines there are coming down the pipeline and , and what their advantages are?" So I did, and it took me the entire weekend, but put together the first paper that I did and , and the firm helped me to put that on LinkedIn, but I just became, so, and then I was like, this is a diagnostics vaccines immunology. That's, that's just where I really, really loved to work. And if I could find a position where I could devote most of my time to that as a patent attorney, I would, I would just be on, on cloud nine. So that's what , that's, that was what influenced me. It was the science, it was being closer to the science and being closer to the patients because the pharmaceutical company, everything, the focus of the entire company is on health and , and promoting health. And, and I mean , there's a long story about why that I'm so passionate about that involving my sister. But that, that is, that was what I wanted to be. Whereas the law firm is, is more focused on , legal equity on, on making sure everybody's treated fairly, making sure everybody has a voice. It's a , it's a different focus. I'm doing what I want to do. You know, I was doing what I wanted to do in the law firm. Absolutely. But I wanted the whole, the whole firm was not health focused. So that's , that's, that was what I, and I talked to myself well, a lot. So you are, you know, are you crazy to do this at this point in your career? And finally it just boiled down to it's what I wanted to do.
April Isaacson: 35:47
I love that you went back, you were a research scientist at Boehringer Ingelheim, and now it comes full circle to you going back and doing patent work for Boehringer Ingelheim. I think that's absolutely fabulous.
Jamie Graham: 36:01
It's a great company. And I knew that. I had no qualms, I only left to go to law school. And in fact, when I left, I'd said to them, I went into the general counsel's office and said, "Hey, if, if I get this law degree, like , could you hire me back?" And he's like , "oh, sure!" You know what I mean? Yeah . Right. But, you know, I, I had intended to do that and intended to do lots of things, but once you come to Atlanta, ooh, it's hard to leave.
Kimberlynn Davis: 36:27
April Isaacson: 36:28
Well, it's a wonderful company. I totally agree. Cause I've , as you know, I've, I've done work for them in the past.
Jamie Graham: 36:33
Yeah, that's right. Yes.
Kimberlynn Davis: 36:36
So, so how does your day to day differ now? I'm imagining it's quite different.
Jamie Graham: 36:41
Well, I actually told my boss that I was telling everybody this, I said, "I get paid to go to meetings, administrative meetings, like about the docket." It's like, wow. So, I mean, I can't, I'm not saying I didn't get paid as a, as a partner in a law firm. Of course I did. Very well. Thank you. But your billable hours of your billable hours and non-billable hours are non-billable hours and they don't, I don't have to keep my time anymore. I'm on all different projects with people all around the globe. The only, you know , obstacle we have are the time zones, you know, I'm like, "Hey, where are you?" And he's like , "I'm in Germany." Oh, well then we may just have this meeting in the morning because I can't tell there are people in California. There are people in Iowa. There are people in Connecticut, they're all over the world. And everybody's very different. There are a lot of women at this company, a lot of women in high places. In fact, most of the people who interviewed me in , in the highest positions were women. And that, that impressed me. That impressed me a lot.
April Isaacson: 37:47
So I'm taking that you are really missing the billable hours . Is that what you're saying?
Jamie Graham: 37:52
I am not missing the billable hours. Sorry to say, although I'll tell you I've been working very, very hard. And I , and I even said, I said, you know, sometimes I wish I could just write down how much time I've spent on this project, because I think you would be impressed and all they care about is that it's done. So I can spend as much time as I want and nobody complains about the bill.
Kimberlynn Davis: 38:16
There you go, there you go. Well, I can say that you are truly missed. We often have our moments now where we were stewing about an issue and , one colleague and a good friend of yours as well, Lizette Fernandez, will stew and say, "now what would Jamie do in this situation?" And literally we would play back, "well, you know, Jamie would say this and Jamie would say that," so, no, that's golden . Our, "what would Jamie do?" moments are like, no other, so thank you for leaving us with those as well.
Jamie Graham: 38:48
Well, thank you. Call me anytime. Really. I get paid! Yes , you can call me it doesn't but no, I really, I, I I'll be happy to help anybody at any time. I always have been. So , and I'm working with several people that I know already. And so , we talk about all of you as well, because we all know each other and very fondly, I must say.
April Isaacson: 39:12
Jamie, one of the things I love is that you have so many fun hobbies and interests. Can you talk a little bit about some of things like, you know, being in a band, photography, things of the like?
Jamie Graham: 39:22
Well, I must say that the sailboat racing took a back burner when I moved to Atlanta. I used to joke that I'd fill up the bathtub and , and stare at it because there was no water to go to anywhere in Atlanta. I used to go sailboat racing with a professor from Emory . He was, he was a products liability professor. We had a lot of fun in that until Sarah was born. And then it was like, I don't have time. And I , and also I was like, if I die, you know, my husband will kill me. So I can't, I can't be doing what I used to do on sailboats , hiking out with...I used to be very , adventurous. But I, yes, our neighborhood has this amazing band. We just performed on Saturday at our annual picnic. We have a neighborhood crawfish f estivals called Craw-Fest. And so we played outside and everybody we're still doing socially distanced here. So everybody was sitting on their front porches or their front yards and, watching the band and, and getting their crawfish and eating it at t hat, in the comfort of their own tables in their own, in their own property. And so w e, we played for a good two hours. In fact, we were John and I were just playing the recording last night and it, it sounds really good. I think it's the best we ever did, but we recruited a lot of professionals. Well, they volunteered actually. Actually they asked if they could do it, come and sing with us. And so they did, we had, we had Nick from Yacht Rock Revue singing lead on, on one song. And that was a whole lot of fun. And everyone in the band stepped it up to, to meet N ick's standard. I mean, he's, he's a pro, so it was g reat fun.
Kimberlynn Davis: 41:07
And you sing and you also play an instrument in the band, right?
Jamie Graham: 41:11
Yes. Yes. Yes I play flute. Yes. Yes. Marshall Tucker Band is the one that I mainly do is it's "Can't You See" is the song I play.
April Isaacson: 41:20
Well, and you talked a little bit about having children and some of the things about that when you were early in your career that were challenging in terms of work-life balance. Can you talk a little bit more about, I know you're a very proud grandmother , and, and some of those types of things?
Jamie Graham: 41:36
Yes. So Sarah, I could talk for hours and hours about my children. They are the pride of my life. Sarah was the perfect child. I could take Sarah anywhere. Anna, Anna was very good too, but, but Sarah was the guinea pig and Sarah was the oldest and I had to go to a partner's meeting at eight o'clock in the morning, and the babysitter didn't arrive till nine and Sarah went to the meeting. We had crayons and we had a coloring book and Sarah was, you know, she would sit there. And so I took her everywhere, had no qualms . She would never be unruly at all. She would be a nice, you know , little lady. She , she now has a PhD in economics, so, and teaches at Auburn. So she's, she's an amazing, an amazing child. And Anna, Anna was also the perfect child, and actually was the perfect child , no problems at all, but by then, I'd had all my, my systems in place and there was a place for Anna to go. So I didn't drag her along, but I would be late to pick Anna up occasionally and Anna would just sit there and she'd be sitting outside the daycare on the curb. And, you know, the teachers would be watching her, but she said, "no, my mommy will come. She's always late for my mommy will come." And I always came. I was always there. So any performance they did, I was there.
April Isaacson: 42:56
Can you tell us some of the life lessons that you've taught them as a woman going out into the workforce?
Jamie Graham: 43:05
Perservance is really important. Kindness is, is very important. The one thing that , comes to mind immediately is I told them to stay in school as long as possible. Because I had stopped. I mean, I had to work. I, when I finished college, I, I had college debt and , so I went to work straight out of college and then went back and did all those other things to the degrees. I told him just it's so much easier to just stay in. So that , that was my advice in my daughter. Anna just graduated from Georgia Tech with her second master's this one was the MBA. The first one was in computer science. Second was an MBA on last Friday. So , yes. So I even, I even said on Facebook to her, my comment on her picture, she was so we were all so proud of her and she was proud of herself for, for doing that. I said, you know, "so I guess you followed my advice to stay in school as long as possible." And she commented back, "I would be a fool not to follow your advice, mom." So I was like, oh, how sweet, how cute. But yeah, I mean, I was really close with my girls. I still am. I see them all the time. I would, I would be lost without them.
April Isaacson: 44:20
I think anybody would be a fool not to follow your advice. I mean, you really have been a trailblazer and are just such an inspiration. What advice would you give to people out there that have found themselves as onlys or firsts?
Jamie Graham: 44:36
Well, you know, kind of enjoy it for, for what it is for, for a while. it's lonely at the top and, and, you know, I think there are some of those ads for, for companies that are number one, when you're number one, everybody's like trying to pass you. And you just have to embrace it and, and just, just do what, whatever it is that, that, that drives you and, and having very clear goals was easy. I've seen a lot of people struggle. They don't know what to major in, in college. They don't know what to do with their life. I'm very good at making decisions, whether they're right or wrong, I make them and I stick with them. So a lot, a lot of people kind of waffle a bit and I don't waffle. If I make a decision, I just go for it. So, yeah, being, being first, the idea is to bring others up and bring them up to join you. And then, then you're not lonely anymore. I love cultures. I've lived in foreign countries, so I can adapt to a situation, to a culture, the culture of the, of the all men in a boardroom situation. It was, it was a bit of a challenge. It was kind of fun. You know, sometimes I just try and push their buttons to see what would happen if I said this or that. I mean , but, and I also start off very quiet. So I wait and kind of gauge the room. So if you see me in a new situation, you'll see, you'll think that I'm and I am a bit shy. So I'm , I'm very reserved, but then once I get going , there's no shutting me up.
April Isaacson: 46:10
Jamie. I just want to thank you for spending your time with us. It's been an absolute pleasure having you on Sidebars today. Everything that you've done, I want to thank you as a Gen X-er for all of the trailblazing that you have done to make things better for us and these other generations. So thank you very much for your time And we will be in touch, absolutely.
Jamie Graham: 46:32
Oh, thank you. This was really a pleasure. I've had an absolute blast doing this. Thank you.
April Isaacson: 46:38
Thank you for joining us today. If you enjoyed Sidebars, we invite you to check out the Kilpatrick Townsend Medicine and Molecules Blog at kilpatricktownsend.com to read, watch, and listen to other related insight on patent law. We'll also put that information in the show notes. The opinions expressed on this podcast are our own and are not those of Kilpatrick Townsend.
Kimberlynn Davis: 47:01
Also, we would love it if you would rate us or leave a review, it helps others find the show. See you next time.