Cooley adds life sciences veteran to Brussels roster

Elisabethann Wright swaps Hogan Lovells for Cooley as it ramps up EU and US life sciences practices

Elisabethann Wright Image courtesy of Cooley

Veteran life sciences lawyer Elisabethann Wright has left Hogan Lovells in Brussels to join Cooley. Wright has parted ways with Hogan Lovells, where she was co-head of the firm’s EU life sciences regulatory practice, after 15 years, having made partner in 2006.

Wright’s arrival brings Cooley the benefit of her 35 years’ experience in the EU capital, including stints at White & Case and legacy UK boutique Stanbrook & Hooper – now McDermott Will & Emery. She has also spent time as a referendaire (law clerk) at the European Court of Justice and a senior legal officer at the European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority.

“Elisabethann is a rare talent among lawyers specialising in EU law and the regulation of pharmaceuticals and medical devices,” said Kay Chandler, chair of Cooley’s life sciences industry practice.

“She brings to our team market-leading legislative knowledge, technical skill and commercial acumen that enhance our support for life sciences and innovative healthcare clients as they continue to develop and commercialise regulated products across the globe.”

Chandler added that her hire is intended to boost Cooley’s status in the life sciences field, with European markets in mind for its US clients, as well as the benefit of bringing Wright’s own following. The firm opened in Brussels in 2019, losing co-founding partner Becket McGrath to Euclid Law in 2020 but hiring Patrick Van Eecke, global co-chair of DLA Piper's data protection team, later that year.

Together with Jaques Derenne and Catriona Hatton, Wright’s work was significant, first as legacy Hogan & Hartson integrated with Lovells in 2010 and then in rising up the ranks as it expanded its EU life sciences portfolio. Derenne left for Shepherd Mullin in 2015, with Hatton joining Baker Botts as co-head of that office in 2012.

Wrights practice is focused on helping clients place and keep pharmaceutical, medical device and food products on the EU market through strategic advice, advocacy and litigation.

One law firm source praised her technical ability in terms of regulatory and legislative acumen, as well as her commercial nous, particularly in ensuring and maintaining constant client compliance. She also has GDPR experience in healthcare matters.

Another source, an in-house lawyer, said that Wright’s “sage advice” on product safety and liability issues, especially EU medical device regulations spanned the full product regulatory life cycle, including EU drug approval and CE marking of medical devices, marketing and promotion matters, calling it “outstanding”.

Wright’s European litigation nous will also be valued before the European and EFTA courts, including on challenges on behalf of industry clients to decisions of EU institutions and the validity of EU legislation.

Her hire follows a string of lateral moves to Cooley in the US to boost its global life sciences capabilities. Senior US Food and Drug Administration alumnus Sonia Nath joined the firm in Washington DC in April after a decade in public service and industry veteran Gina Cavalier was added to the ranks in Los Angeles after a decade as partner from King & Spalding.

Wright is the second senior life sciences exit at Hogan Lovells this year, with Freshfields hiring Adam Golden in New York in May.  

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