The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) will honor Sandra Leung, general counsel and corporate secretary for Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), as the recipient of its 2013 Excellence in Corporate Practice Award. The award will be presented at ACC’s Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, CA, on Monday, October 28.
Established in 1996, the award recognizes an outstanding senior in-house lawyer who has made significant business and legal contributions leading to a company’s success, which include adding value in the areas of strategic vision, cost control, compliance and quality initiatives, law department management, service to the legal profession and practice innovations.
“Sandra offers a long list of demonstrable achievements across the broad spectrum of in-house responsibilities,” said Veta T. Richardson, president and chief executive officer of ACC. “From her role in redefining the relationship with outside counsel, to reducing costs and restructuring her law department to meet business objectives, she has helped Bristol-Myers Squibb thrive in an increasingly challenging business and regulatory environment. As a result, Sandra stands out as a leader and trusted business advisor for Bristol-Myers Squibb.”
Ms. Leung reshaped and streamlined her organization’s law department, which helped the company transform itself into a more accountable and agile enterprise. As part of the process, she restructured the department into six practice groups and removed boundaries to foster greater collaboration and provide regulatory and commercial counsel to each in-house department on litigation risk and avoidance issues. She also promoted accountability and collaboration with the department, BMS scientists and outside counsel. Furthermore, Ms. Leung lowered department expenses and moved U.S.-based legal staff from Manhattan headquarters to New Jersey to place them closer to the business units they serve.
“This recognition reflects Sandy’s leadership in establishing a best-in-class law department that plays a critical role in supporting the mission and objectives of Bristol-Myers Squibb.” said Lamberto Andreotti, chief executive officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Sandy’s contributions to the company have been instrumental in our ability to deliver on our mission of developing innovative medicines to help patients prevail over serious disease. I join the Bristol-Myers Squibb family in congratulating her on this honor.”
Ms. Leung has also been a proponent of professional advancement for her legal team. She formed BMS Expert Groups, a forum for in-house lawyers with specialized expertise in certain areas of law to discuss new developments and to provide advice prior to the engagement of outside lawyers; the BMS Attorneys Sharing Knowledge, which strategizes on commercialization and global product development; and Law Forward Team, a think tank for mid-level lawyers to improve law department management. In addition, Ms. Leung and her team actively support the Law Department’s Diversity Committee that runs the department’s summer law student internship, among other activities to support diversity and inclusion.
“I am deeply honored to be recognized by the ACC,” said Ms. Leung. “I am fortunate to be part of an organization that understands the value of in-house lawyers as business partners and strategic advisors. This award is a direct result of the hard work and accomplishments of the talented lawyers within the Bristol-Myers Squibb law department, who play a critical role in the success of our department and the company overall.”