Mike Stanek - McDermott Will & Emery

Mike Stanek

Mike Stanek

Associate General Counsel | Eli Lily and Company

The Firm was consistently a place that not only accepted me, but embraced my perspectives.

You were a summer associate at McDermott in 2008. With this year’s program in full swing, what advice do you have for these future lawyers?

The summer program was a formative time in my life and a highlight of my career. McDermott was the first workplace where I decided to be “out,” and doing so allowed me to be authentic to myself on every level. The Firm was consistently a place that not only accepted me, but embraced my perspectives. My advice to summer associates is to be all in: be yourself, build lasting relationships with your peers, seek out mentors and do great work.

What did you learn or experience at McDermott that helped propel your career?

McDermott gave me the investigations, compliance and litigation experience—particularly with clients across the healthcare and life sciences space—that allows me to do my job well today. At a fundamental level, the culture at McDermott helped me become more entrepreneurial, flexible and resilient. I was continually pushed out of my comfort zone, which has made adapting to my new role a lot easier.

You’re a three-time “boomerang”—tell us what kept bringing you back to McDermott.

Those three transitions included a secondment with a Firm client, a job in the Senate Judiciary Committee and a brief detour to another law firm. Without a doubt, it was the people who always brought me back to McDermott, particularly my friends and colleagues in the DC office and the white-collar group. It’s rare to have a workplace full of such kind and talented people. Even on the tough days and in the midst of challenging matters, we had each other’s backs.

How have your McDermott connections impacted your career? Why do you stay connected?

My McDermott friends and mentors have been sounding boards throughout my career. I’ve developed relationships with my peers and members of Firm leadership that allow for honest discussion and advice. Now that I’m on the client side, I still have complete trust that those McDermott connections are looking out for me.

Are there any interesting or emerging trends that you’re seeing in your industry?

Life sciences companies have both more risk and more opportunity than ever before, thanks to a confluence of issues that have no shortage of attention—artificial intelligence, the economy and new regulatory pressures in the US. The industry is entering a phase of significant innovation and disruption, and I am excited to see the new discoveries that will come. All of these factors will certainly keep me busy.


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