Carolyn A. Blessing
Locke Lord LLP
Intellectual property law, patent litigation
40 Under Class – 2019

Carolyn Blessing boasts a key skill: She can distill the facts of even the most complex pharmaceutical patent cases into winning strategies for her clients. The reason? Blessing’s peers say this intellectual property and patent litigation specialist relies on her extensive knowledge of science and the law.

Karen Carroll with the Atlanta office of law firm Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein has known Blessing for more than four years. During this time, Blessing has been one of the leading attorneys in developing the case strategy in every joint defense group in which the two have been involved.

That’s a sign of trust from Blessing’s fellow attorneys, Carroll said.

“I have seen Carolyn handle difficult deponents with ease, not only due to her ability to effectively litigate, but also because of her ability to navigate thickets created by complex issues, adversarial parties and difficult personalities,” Carroll said. “I know that when Carolyn is taking the lead in a joint defense venture, she will achieve a positive result not only for her client but for the joint defense group as a whole.”

Julianne Hartzell with Chicago’s Marshall, Gerstein & Borun said that Blessing has established herself as a top litigator, one who specializes in the often complex field of Hatch-Waxman pharmaceutical patent litigation.

Blessing has thrived here thanks to her strong courtroom instincts, her ability to adapt as cases progress and her impressive organizational and strategic skills. It doesn’t hurt that no one outworks Blessing.

“Although she is more junior than I am, I have been very impressed by her ambition, drive and determination to succeed,” Hartzell said. “I have learned professional development tips from Carolyn that I have adopted in my own career.”

Hartzell points to a 2016 trial as an example of Blessing’s skills. Blessing took the lead on developing the non-infringement case and worked extensively with expert witnesses on a trial involving mechanical engineering medical device technology. Blessing’s client was ultimately found not to have infringed, largely because of Blessing’s successful cross-examination of the opposing expert at trial. During this cross-examination, Blessing obtained a number of useful admissions that helped sway the case.

Building a thriving legal career takes time. Despite this, Blessing is extremely active in the intellectual property bar, women’s organizations and in the community. She has taken on several leadership roles in the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, and currently serves as the group’s president. Under Blessing’s leadership, the Coalition is expanding to its third city, Washington, D.C.

In addition, Blessing has served as a board member with the Richard Linn American Inn of Court and helped start Chicago Women in IP, a relatively new organization. In the community, Blessing has served on boards for the Joffrey Ballet and 137 Films. She is also the winner of the CVLS Distinguished Service award for her work with St. Procopius Legal Clinic.

“Carolyn is a tireless and hard-working leader who inspires confidence in attorneys at all levels of the profession,” said Margo Wolf O’Donnell, co-chair and partner at Chicago’s Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP. “Having someone like Carolyn as a recipient of your award will encourage other women to strive and succeed in the legal profession.”