They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 - Jeffrey Bank of Wilson Sonsini

July 14, 2021, 8:46 AM

Please describe two of your most substantial, recent wins in practice.
Two recent wins that stand out are plaintiff-side cases for pharmaceutical clients that were foreclosed by competitors. In Mylan v. Celgene, we pursued a relatively novel theory that Celgene used a patient safety regulatory process as pretext to exclude generic competition and protect its monopoly on certain blockbuster cancer drugs. The court upheld our theory in July 2019, and Celgene eventually agreed to settle for tens of millions of dollars. Similarly, in Amphastar v. Momenta, [in June 2019] we alleged that Momenta manipulated a standard-setting process to protect its monopoly on a critical blood clot medication. There, too, early wins on motion practice led to a great recovery for our client. In both cases, we notched significant wins for our clients, but also set precedents promoting competition and benefiting patients generally.

What is the most important lesson you learned as a first-year attorney and how does it inform your practice today?
As a first-year lawyer at the Federal Trade Commission, I was given responsibility to lead a piece of an investigation into suspected anticompetitive “reverse payment” conduct. I learned that providing young attorneys with opportunities to take depositions, negotiate with opposing counsel, and draft significant court filings helps develop superstars and build long-term successful teams. Today, I try to provide those types of opportunities to associates on my team, which ultimately leads to better results for our clients and the firm.

How do you define success in your practice?
When a client you have worked for once comes back to use your services again. The law is a client-service business, after all, and I think that’s about the best testament a lawyer can receive.

What are you most proud of as a lawyer?
I am most proud of my pro bono work for clients, and for my pro bono leadership within the firm. I was flattered to be appointed pro bono coordinator for Wilson Sonsini’s New York office as just a fourth-year associate, and have been honored to oversee our lawyers’ contribution to the public good in the 10 years since. During my time as pro bono coordinator, Wilson Sonsini has formed successful partnerships with Human Rights First, Sanctuary for Families, and other organizations serving communities in need. I am also proud to have established our successful partnership with the City of New York, through which numerous associates have participated in a two-week internship program, gaining deposition experience and performing other important work for the city.

In my own pro bono matters, I have found it fulfilling to represent clients in asylum matters, including a successful Second Circuit appeal for a Nepalese asylum seeker, as well as many other successful cases in which we obtained asylum or relief for individuals in need. Even after recently moving to Washington, D.C., I continue to coordinate pro bono work, emphasizing partnerships between our offices.

Who is your greatest mentor in the law and what have they taught you?
I have been very lucky to be mentored by Seth Silber, whose career I have (at first, unknowingly) tracked. Like Seth, I worked at the Federal Trade Commission before joining Wilson Sonsini. While we did not overlap at the FTC, our common background laid the groundwork for our current work together on the Mylan litigation and many other matters. Seth has an incredible talent for mentoring young attorneys; in particular, he consistently finds opportunities to nurture the growth of attorneys in a manner that simultaneously serves the interests of his clients. Rarely do those goals work as well together as they do in Seth’s hands. I admire the thoughtfulness that makes him so effective as a mentor, and try to emulate it in my own work with junior attorneys.

Just for fun, tell us your two favorite songs on your summer music playlist.
“Feeling Good” by Nina Simone and “Future Days” by Pearl Jam. My wife and I got married a few summers ago in Lisbon, Portugal, with over 100 of our friends and family traveling to celebrate with us. These two songs were the first two played at the wedding and always remind us of the great time we had.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lisa Helem at lhelem@bloombergindustry.com

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