Of all the skills that she has accumulated over her varied career, efficiency is what Lauren Misztal would highlight as the strength that makes her an asset to Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. Misztal has worked in many different capacities, from the Department of Justice to private practice at Quinn Emanuel. She has built a well-rounded career that gives her a unique perspective and an edge in her current dual role as associate general counsel for litigation and investigations as well as data privacy officer.
When Misztal completed her undergrad at Georgetown University, she went to work in the compliance department at Goldman Sachs in New York, which gave her a taste of both the business world and the legal world. But she quickly discovered that her work with legal matters suited her personality better.
“I thought that it was a better fit for me than business school,” Misztal explains. “I was more drawn to law school given the fact that the subject matter is focused more on reading, writing, analysis, research, oral advocacy, and persuasiveness.”
Partially motivated by its proximity to the epicenter of federal law, Misztal decided to return to her alma mater for law school. “I wanted to be in DC because I knew going into law school that I wanted to be a litigator, not a corporate attorney,” Misztal shares. “I also knew that DC is the home of the federal government with a lot of different options for experience.”
An internship at the Department of Justice cemented her interest in litigation, and after graduation she took on an Article I clerkship on the United States Court of Federal Claims, which later led her to a long-term position at DOJ in the section of the civil division that litigates monetary claims against the federal government.
Of her time at DOJ, most of all, Misztal values the up-close experiences that she gained inside the courtroom during trials. “I did two trials when I was there, one of which I got to first chair,” Misztal explains. “When you’re a young lawyer, there’s no experience quite like that.”
After three years at the Department of Justice, Misztal interviewed at Quinn Emanuel in DC and was hired on the spot as one of their first civil litigators at the same time that their DC office was about to undergo exponential growth.
Misztal’s work at Quinn Emanuel covered a wide range of matters such as mortgage-backed securities litigation, criminal investigations, civil internal investigations, and false claims act cases. She even had a few healthcare clients, which would foreshadow her next move.
“I ultimately decided that the best path for me would be to try to move in-house,” Misztal notes. In terms of her career trajectory, Misztal essentially hit the trifecta of legal experience through government work, private practice, and now as an in-house lawyer for Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.
“A good compliance program is all about making sure that we have spotted the gaps.”
Mallinckrodt is a patient-centric specialty pharmaceutical company that develops and manufactures treatments for rare diseases and health conditions that are largely overlooked. Misztal joined the company in late 2019 while it was facing several significant legal issues, including a potential restructuring.
“I was really hungry for that,” says Misztal. “I wanted to come to an organization that had a lot of interesting legal circumstances and compliance challenges so that I could hopefully help the company navigate those things. I think that’s really where you’re learning the most—in an organization that is facing unique legal challenges. That’s where an attorney can grow.”
Shortly after joining the company, Misztal also took on the role of data privacy officer, which gave her a new challenge of defining forward-looking compliance strategies instead of the backward-facing litigation that she was used to.
“A good compliance program is all about making sure that we have spotted the gaps,” Misztal says. “We’re making certain that people within the organization understand our regulatory obligations from a privacy perspective and that we have solid processes so that there are no issues in the future that will get us into legal or regulatory trouble.”
Given Misztal’s diverse experience, she was exceptionally poised to move in-house as she carried a prized quality for any company: efficiency. Contrary to many conceptions about the Department of Justice, federal lawyers do not have unlimited resources or budgets to accomplish their goals, so Misztal learned early on how to strategize economically.
The same was true during her time at Quinn Emanuel, a firm that’s known for aggressive strategies that maximize client resources and that never lets a penny go to waste. “Since I have such a strong litigation and investigations background, I’m able to hire really good outside counsel, but I’m also able to collaborate with them and make suggestions to them,” Misztal explains. “I’d like to think I’m able to cut out some of the inefficiencies that can sometimes creep in.”
Misztal believes that her theme of effective and efficient work can also be attributed to another full-time role she assumes—a mother. She points out that, perhaps what the mainstream conversation doesn’t fully appreciate about the parenthood/work balance is how the two vocations are mutually beneficial.
“I don’t want people to think I can’t do things because I have kids. In fact, I want them to understand I love coming to work because I have kids,” she says. “I’m a much more dynamic and involved mom because of this outlet, my career. On the other hand, moms are usually better workers because we just need to be more efficient. I don’t waste time because of how valuable it is.”