Kate Murashige – role model patent lawyer

5 minutes with... Kate Murashige

Kate MurasigheWhen did you decide to become a lawyer? Why? 

In my late 30s when I saw that teaching chemistry was fun but repetitious. I couldn’t think of anything else, so I went to law school at night. I am grateful to the Jesuits for running quality programs at night.

Starting out, what did you expect from a career in the law?

Just something different and interesting.

How did you get into the areas of law you are known for today? By design? Chance? Both?

Since I have a science background, patent law was a logical choice.

What do you consider to have been your big break?

Several of them – working for Syntex and Genentech and being offered a partnership by Tom Ciotti at the peak of the biotech activity. [Ciotti is currently senior counsel at MoFo, co-founder of the firm's venture intellectual property group, and founder of the biotechnology/chemistry, medical device and greentech patent groups.]

"This is not a good time. Do something else first."

What differences do you see in today's legal market compared to when you started?

A lot more crowded and much more marketing-oriented.

What achievement are you most proud of? 

Just getting good patents for good people.

What law would you change, abolish or create? 

I am delighted we are going to first to file.

Who is your legal hero? 

Tom Ciotti, Herwig von Morze.

What particular challenges (if any) did/do you face in your legal career as a woman, and how did you overcome them?

I have been lucky.

What career would you have in your second life? 

This is my second life. I am trying to think of a third.

What slogan would you like to be remembered by? 

Honest and competent.

What advice would you give to students trying to enter the legal profession today? And secondly, to those who hope to ultimately get into the areas of law in which you are expert?

This is not a good time. Do something else first.