Our Alumni Program team recently connected with Geri Rochino, who is now senior commercial counsel at 10x Genomics, about her career path, Mintz memories, and what advice she’d give her younger self.
Tell us about your legal career and how you decided to apply your education in the sciences to the field of law.
When I was in graduate school, I was working on my master's degree, and I attended a talk given by two patent examiners from the USPTO. The patent examiners encouraged us to consider going to law school and use our science background to become patent attorneys. At that time, I realized I didn't want to move forward to a PhD program, and law school seemed like a good choice that would enable me to use my science background.
What was your career path after you left the firm?
When I left the firm, I wanted to transition from patent law to contracts. I went in-house to a research tools company, and I took a role in business development where I helped to review licenses to ensure that the company was in compliance with its license term. After a few years, I moved into a contracts attorney role at that same company.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job, and what is the most challenging?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is that I get to work for companies that are striving to cure diseases directly or developing ways to support the researchers trying to cure the diseases. The most challenging aspect of my job is the timing of our work. Sometimes, it can take a really long time to come up with a drug that can help someone with a particular disease. As you can see with COVID, we have a few vaccines, but we're still trying to improve them, and we still need to come up with more effective rapid tests and treatment for those suffering from the effects of COVID. There is a real sense of urgency in our work these days.
How has the life sciences industry changed over the course of your career?
The industry has gotten bigger, and there are more and more small companies popping up every day. I think this is leading to more and more partnerships, collaborations, and vendor services, which requires companies to utilize a higher number of contract attorneys these days.
How has your work at Mintz impacted your career?
Mintz had a significant impact on my career. It was at Mintz that I was really taught about the importance of maintaining and fostering professional relationships with your colleagues in the office and with your clients. It's especially important to go out and build your network, and Mintz taught me how to do this well. I am also still in contact with Mintz alumni, even to this day.
What is your favorite memory from your time at Mintz?
Geri: I will never forget attending the BIO International Convention in Boston. I had just started working at Mintz, and every patent attorney was flown in to attend BIO. This was an opportunity to get to meet many exceptional professionals in my field.
If there is one piece of advice you could give to your younger self, what advice would you give?
My advice would be to learn the importance of always nurturing your relationships and people in your life. I think I know this now, but it would've been great to learn it as early as possible. It helps you to value people in your life but also to be a person that can easily build relationships and connections with other people. Especially in law, this serves me every day in my role.
Did you pick up any hobbies during COVID?
Not really. I spent most of the time figuring out how to keep my kids focused and educated during their virtual classes.
Tell us about your family.
I've been married to my wife for a little over seven years, and we adopted two children. Our daughter is almost nine, and our son is seven. We also have four fur babies — two dogs and two cats.