Latham recruits life sciences partner duo in DC from Skadden, real estate partner in New York

Former FDA lawyers Jennifer Bragg and William McConagha move over in DC as Safehold CLO Douglas Heitner joins real estate team in New York

Latham & Watkins has bolstered its partner bench across Washington DC and New York, lifting its healthcare and life sciences team with former FDA lawyers Jennifer Bragg and William McConagha from Skadden in DC as real estate transactions lawyer Douglas Heitner joins in New York from real estate investment trust (REIT) Safehold. 

Latham’s cross-disciplinary healthcare and life sciences team is an industry leader, recognised for its handling of complex M&A, collaboration and licensing deals. The team also counsels pharmaceutical and medical device companies on regulatory matters including new product approvals and marketing materials, and has a substantial contentious arm for white-collar investigations and patent litigation. 

Mandy Reeves, managing partner of Latham’s DC office, said Bragg and McConagha’s industry and government experience aligned with the firm’s aim to grow the healthcare team. 

“Their knowledge and strong client relationships will enhance our regulatory, compliance and advisory offerings, and their backgrounds are suited to the corporate deals and critical regulatory issues our clients encounter,” she said. 

Bragg has joined has joined the firm after nearly 15 years at Skadden, before which she was associate chief counsel for enforcement at the FDA. She counsels companies on compliance and investigations stemming from enforcement actions initiated by FDA and other governmental authorities, including the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Office of Inspector General (OIG). She also advises pharmaceutical, medical device and other FDA-regulated companies on complex transactional matters. 

Meantime McConagha spent just over four years at Skadden, before which he was a partner at Sidley Austin for eight years and spent 17 years at the FDA, where he rose to become assistant commissioner. 

McConagha counsels on the complete lifecycle of FDA-regulated products, from pre-market development and clinical trials to product launch and post-market safety reporting and manufacturing requirements. He also counsels start-ups and global life sciences companies on complex regulatory matters, and has served as FDA diligence and regulatory counsel in numerous corporate transactions. 

For his part Heitner has joined Latham’s 40-lawyer New York real estate team, which handles transactions for a client roster of foreign investors, private equity funds and institutional lenders, after five years as chief legal officer at Safehold. Earlier he was a partner at local firm Kasowitz Benson Torres and an associate at Skadden. 

Heitner advises clients on the full spectrum of real estate transactions, including joint ventures, financings, investment sales and acquisitions, secondary market debt acquisitions and dispositions, developments and loan workouts, as well as public and private projects. 

“Doug is well known in the New York real estate market for his entrepreneurial approach and commercial mindset,” said Marc Jaffe, managing partner of Latham’s New York office. “His experience in real estate private equity and leading the legal department of a diverse, publicly traded real estate company – including overseeing major public and private deals in the New York market – adds depth to our practice both in New York and globally.”

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