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Milan Office Managing Partner Laura Orlando has been appointed joint Global Practice Area Lead (GPAL) for the firm’s Intellectual Property (IP) practice.

Working alongside Partner Rebekah Gay, who oversees the practice as a GPAL across Asia and Australia, Laura will look after the UK and EMEA.

Laura heads Herbert Smith Freehills' Milan office and co-heads the firm's European Life Sciences sector team. Ranked as one of Italy's 50 top lawyers in LegalCommunity's Lawyers of the Year every year since 2018, Laura is regularly lauded by the directories as an "outstanding litigator" and "among the best IP lawyers in Italy".

She has carved out a hugely successful career to date and specialises in contentious and non-contentious intellectual property, with a focus on patent and regulatory law in the life sciences sector. In this field she has acted on some of the highest profile multi-jurisdictional patent cases, including in the context of the Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) Regulation, and has assisted major pharmaceutical and biotech companies in connection with their top selling drugs.

Laura graduated with honours from the University of Pavia and the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and holds a doctorate in Contentious Law from the University of Bologna. She is admitted to the Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) and she is also the Executive Secretary of the Life Sciences Committee at the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy.

Commenting on her appointment, Laura said: "I am very proud to lead our world-class IP team with Rebekah. We have seen our practice grow into a truly elite global practice, with strong practices across Asia, Europe and in the UK. Having a GPAL for the practice based in the Milan office, is truly indicative of the successful growth of the IP team across Europe. I am very much looking forward to working with Rebekah and leading our team on into its next chapter."

Herbert Smith Freehills' global IP practice is renowned for handling heavyweight litigation, complex transactions, and IP prosecution and strategy on behalf of cutting-edge businesses across the firm's core sectors. Over recent years, this has included important matters for some market leaders such as: Roche, Sanofi, Gilead, Motorola, BAT, Unilever, Treasury Wine Estates and Johnson & Johnson.

The firm has also made a number of high-profile and strategic hires recently including: Peng Lei, who joined its joint operation firm Kewei in Beijing in September 2021; and partner Ina vom Feld to its Düsseldorf office in May 2020 – both very important IP markets.

The team is also currently preparing clients for the start of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) in Europe, which will allow pan-European patent litigation in a way never seen before – a substantial opportunity for our connected, global practice.  

Rebekah Gay added: "As a global practice, one of our real strengths is that we work extremely closely as one team which has enabled us to cement our position as a force to be reckoned with right across the globe. Our teams in Asia, Europe and the UK are helping the world's foremost companies unlock the value of their intellectual property to protect their investment, to secure and maintain competitive advantage and to obtain commercial outcomes. Our team are globally recognised as market leaders, and they have acted on some of the most complex disputes and transactions in the market. I am really thrilled to be working alongside Laura to further cement and grow our global practice further."

For more information on the Herbert Smith Freehills' Global IP Offering, please visit our website:

Key contacts

Laura Orlando photo

Laura Orlando

Italy Managing Partner, Joint Global Head of Intellectual Property, EMEA Co-Head of Life Sciences, Milan

Laura Orlando

Milan Laura Orlando