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Science and Serendipity Create New Career for Cindy Bott '99

Cindy BottA passion for science and the law took Cindy Bott around the world—from London to Cincinnati to Ann Arbor working for some of the world’s largest corporations. She has parlayed the skills she honed into a position as a partner at one of Michigan’s largest law firms.

Bott recalls that she has had a passion for science for many years, which she has been able to nurture throughout her education and career. She began at Michigan State University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. Bott then went on to obtain her PhD in cellular molecular biology from the University of Michigan, and later completed a three year post-doctoral fellowship at Chester Beatty Laboratories of the Institute of Cancer Research in London, England.

She came to Cincinnati thanks to what she calls “serendipity.” She and her husband Mike, who she met on a co-op at Dow Chemical Corporation while in college, had been living in England when he was offered a new position in Cincinnati. They moved. “I had been considering going to law school and focusing on patent law,” said Bott, “and I knew that UC Law had good full-time and adjunct faculty members in the area of intellectual property.” She saw law school as an opportunity: the combination of law and science would provide her with an interesting career while at the same time make her more mobile.

Because of her focus on science education for so many years, Bott was older than most of her classmates at UC Law. She was already married and had a five-month-old baby at the time. To manage the responsibilities of school and home, Bott treated law school like a job. Her methods worked well because she finished third in her class…and became parent to another child while in school!

Summer Internship Provides Opportunity to Expand Horizons

During her summers in law school, Bott had the opportunity to begin working in her areas of interest. She worked at Wood, Heron, and Evans her first summer doing intellectual property work with a focus on patents. During her second summer, she joined the pharmaceutical department at Procter & Gamble. It would prove to be a good fit.

Following graduation she and her family decided to stay in Cincinnati. At that time she felt that corporate life would be a better option and fit for her than private practice. So, she returned to Procter & Gamble, working as a patent attorney. This allowed her to combine her chemistry and molecular biology background with the legal skill she had obtained at UC Law.

Experiencing the Corporate Law Life

Bott remained at Procter & Gamble for several years before her family was presented with an opportunity to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan. There, her husband would be able to operate his own business, while Bott would be able to join Pfizer, Inc., the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical corporation. During her time at Pfizer, Bott worked with many talented chemists and biologists, enjoying the challenge of protecting Pfizer’s intellectual property. In addition, “The move was a great opportunity because it gave me a chance to be closer to my family,” she commented. When the Ann Arbor branch of Pfizer closed in early 2007, Bott decided it was an opportune time to transition to a law firm. She joined Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, a firm specializing in intellectual property, as counsel. She noted that the law firm was a very different environment than the corporate world.

Bott recently made a move to the law firm of Honigman, Miller, Schwartz, and Cohn, which she states is a better fit for her. She works in the Ann Arbor office of the Detroit-based firm which specializes in many areas of law, including intellectual property. “I enjoy this aspect of my job, since I have the opportunity to learn from my colleagues who practice other kinds of law within the firm.”

Family Ties

Bott and her husband have been married 21 years. They are the parents of three children: Jacob, 13, who was born before law school; Colin, 10, who was born during law school; and Claire, 8, who was born after law school. Most of her free time is dedicated to spending time with her family including traveling, cycling and other sports. She is still in contact with classmate Wendy Neal, who now lives in Phoenix, and the two have talked about attending this year’s 10-year reunion. “I’m looking forward to the reunion so that I can reconnect with people I know but have not be able to maintain contact with over the years.”

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Author: Lindsay Mather, '11