Washington Lawyer - August 2017 - 31

Courtesy of Mayer Brown

Courtesy of Hogan Lovells

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

MARK MANSOUR

OLESYA BARSUKOVA-BAKAR

Partner
Mayer Brown LLP

Partner
Hogan Lovells

I do food and drug regulatory and public policy work. Many of my clients are
major foreign companies in the life sciences and health care arenas. I help my
clients through regulatory processes and troubleshooting such as the management of recalls. I also follow issues on the Hill for my clients. It's interesting work
because it has real-world implications for matters of health and safety.

My practice is fairly broad - I represent both emerging and mature companies
in a wide variety of transactions throughout the globe. My work covers the
entire lifespan of a company: from formation and structuring to growth
through mergers and acquisitions or private equity and venture capital
financing to the transactions for recapitalization, sale, or going public. Now
that the economy is so global, just about every company, no matter how "local,"
has some sort of international component to its business.

My work is challenging. I deal with companies working in a variety of markets
with different regulatory schemes, and none of them is quite like the regulatory
scheme of the United States. It can be difficult to get products approved by the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and sometimes clients believe it should
be easier than it is. They don't always understand how much data they need to
have for FDA approval, so it is my job to explain that to them and help them.
I often travel to meet with clients to talk about their needs. Life sciences is filled
with brilliant people. It helps to speak other languages. In my case, I speak
French and Arabic, which has been tremendously helpful in my work. For
young lawyers considering going into international law, I would suggest they
learn a language or two because it will help.

One of the biggest challenges in advising clients with respect to international
transactions has nothing to do with the law (there are plenty of great lawyers),
but more with the ability to be a cultural guide and help bridge the cultural
gap between the parties. That ability has a huge impact on negotiations and
on how the parties go forward in working together. I often advise clients on
joint venture transactions, so it is imperative that the partners in the venture are
able to culturally understand each other and establish a strong working relationship. For me, growing up in a different country (Russia) with a different
culture means that often I can step back and see where the cultural disconnect
is during a negotiation and help bridge it.
Anna Stolley Persky is a regular contributor to Washington Lawyer.



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