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Ryan Lindsey: Dream Job in Edwards Lifesciences

Ryan Lindsey earned a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s in biology before he discovered that working in a laboratory by himself wasn’t his bailiwick.

“Frogs don’t talk back at you,” Lindsey told the Business Journal. “It was pretty boring, and it wasn’t my personality.”

Lindsey switched to the legal field where he eventually landed at medical device giant Edwards Lifesciences Corp. as its vice president, surgical team lead, litigation and intellectual property.

For his success in defending Edwards’ foundational businesses, Lindsey won a Business Journal General Counsel Award in the Specialty Counsel category. The nearly 400-person evening event took place on Nov. 16 at the Irvine Marriott.

Several letters of recommendation were submitted for his nomination, including from Catherine Nyarady, a patent litigator for 25 years and who is now a partner at New York’s Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

“I have worked with many in-house lawyers; Ryan stands out both for his ability to strategically juggle multiple expansive matters and also for his demeanor towards and management of outside counsel,” Nyarady wrote in a letter supporting his bid.

USC JD

Lindsey grew up in a small town south of Portland, Ore. He earned both his bachelor’s and Master of Arts in biology at Occidental College. After he decided to become a lawyer, he earned a juris doctor from USC Gould School of Law in 2004.

Those biology degrees “absolutely” help him as a lawyer to understand complex science areas.

“It’s just about being comfortable with the technology,” Lindsey said.

He focused on patent litigation, first at Howrey LLP for seven years and then a couple years at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. He jumped at an opportunity to work at Edwards (NYSE: EW), one of the world’s leaders in replacing heart valves without resorting to open-heart surgery.

“I applied and begged and borrowed every favor I had to convince others” to tell Edwards executives why he should be hired, Lindsey recalled.

It’s the second straight annual General Counsel award for a lawyer at Edwards, Orange County’s largest medical device maker with a $41 billion market cap (NYSE: EW).

The Business Journal last year honored Linda Park, Edwards’ associated general counsel and corporate secretary with the Rising Star award, for her work in M&A, contracts, potential acquisitions and strategy, among other areas.

Big Awards

During Lindsey’s tenure, Edwards has won notable awards, such as a $1.1 billion settlement in 2014 from Medtronic to settle a patent lawsuit and $112.5 million in 2017 regarding theft of trade secrets.

Edwards hasn’t always won, such as having to pay $180 million to Boston Scientific Corp. in 2019 and taking a $367.9 million pre-tax charge in 2020 in a dispute with Abbott Laboratories.

Nowadays, Lindsey doesn’t appear as much in court as a litigator. Instead, he oversees external law firms around the world in courts ranging from the United Kingdom to India.

“I’m chasing a copier out of India around the world,” Lindsey said. “We have multiple law firms, sometimes working on the same matter across the globe. It’s our job to monitor these law firms to make sure their messages are coordinated around the world. It’s a ton of work.”

He also manages proceedings before the United States Patent and Trademark Office and foreign equivalents like the European Patent Office.

Lindsey, who is also on the Public Law Center and the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, regularly presents on panels throughout the Orange County legal community.

One thing he loves about Edwards is being able to help people survive serious heart ailments, which he knows personally.

“My grandmother died at a young age with structural heart problems,” he said. Working at Edwards “is frosting on the cake. It makes work that much more meaningful.”

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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