Partner, Torys LLP. Chair, Life Science Practice
WHAT SETS HER APART
Cheryl created the only fully US/Canadian cross-boarder Life Science law practice
LMG Life Science—Financial Transactional Lawyer of the Year (2013); and Best Lawyers in Toronto—Biotechnology Lawyer of the Year (2014)
Number of boards: 8, including Founder and Chairman of Genesis, a new incubator that assists non-profit organizations
Eileen McMahon, Co-chair, Intellectual Property and Food and Drug Regulatory Practices, Torys
From Eileen McMahon
As told to Hailey Eisen
In the corporate world, many women hide their personal lives, wanting to appear strong and business-like. Cheryl’s never operated this way. In a highly male-dominated field—technology and life sciences—she speaks openly about her husband and her children, and shares whatever is on her mind, in a professional way.
I can still remember when Cheryl’s son was younger, I’d be in meetings with her (we work hand-in-hand on several client matters in the area of biopharma) and her phone would go off. She’d answer without hesitation, attending to whatever her son needed before returning to the meeting. In doing this, she made it acceptable to balance work and family. She demonstrated that a woman actually can make it work.
You always know where you stand with Cheryl. Clients, opposing counsel and colleagues appreciate the direct approach and as a result she garners their trust. This allows her to be an effective negotiator, trusted advisor, and valuable colleague. Cheryl is a mentor and role model to many young women, both within the law firm and through the various charitable causes she champions. She’s committed to supporting others on the path to success and her openness and self-awareness draw people to her.
In her field, Cheryl is extremely well respected and well connected. An American, she came to Toronto from New York where she was a partner with a large international law firm and chair of an 85-attorney life sciences group. She joined Torys as head of the Technology She built one of the most elite and well-respected life sciences practices worldwide. Since being at Torys, the Canadian side of her practice has expanded, but on any given day she is dealing with U.S., European and Israeli entities with no Canadian connection at all, leading some of the largest and most complicated transactions in the biopharma industry (including the largest cross-boarder IPO and the largest cross-border merger and acquisition transaction).
While many great female lawyers struggle to have a voice at the table, Cheryl has the frankness of a New Yorker and the confidence to speak up and make her views known, even at a table full of men.
Her commitment is made evident through her responsiveness. It’s not uncommon to email Cheryl at 11 p.m. and have a reply by 11:10. Yet, every Friday at sundown she disconnects completely, turning to religious practice and her devotion to the Sabbath. She uses this time to reconnect with the basics—to go to synagogue, spend time with her family, and reflect on what’s important.