Michelle Molner ’16, Johnson & Johnson Janssen Therapeutics, General Counsel

My one-day Princeternship at Janssen Therapeutics with Vice President and Assistant General Counsel Lawyer Lisa Jenkins ‘80 offered me an intriguing insight to the field of health law.

Lisa and I (Cropped)On the day of the Princeternship, I was dropped off at the Janssen Therapeutics office in Titusville, NJ. The medical complex, though large, was not particularly striking in appearance, but it seemed to give off a certain warmth in the piercing January weather. After having casually chatted with several employees at the door and front desk, I proceeded to sit in the lobby and prepare myself for what I anticipated to be a high-pressure, don’t-mess-anything-up encounter with Mrs. Jenkins. Instead, a petite woman with beautiful dark curls and an inviting smile introduced herself to me as “Lisa.” Okay, Lisa it was, then.

The two of us walked down the hall as she pointed out several of her favorite things about the complex, in particular, the cabinets acquired from an old apothecary which lined these halls and were filled with old powders and serums of every kind. They were quirky and intriguing, things like dried elderberry flowers and even opium, and I could see why she lit up just talking about it.

We then grabbed some coffee, to which she sweetly insisted on treating me, and scurried down another hall to our first meeting of the day. A collaborative team of Janssen employees regularly meets for what has been deemed “copy,” in which each piece of promotional material is thoroughly reviewed for accuracy, aesthetics, discrepancies, etc. This was my first taste of a true workday, with not only all of its exciting components but all the mundane ones as well.

Following a long session of copy review, Lisa and I sat down for a long lunch that, in retrospect, was honestly the most influential portion of my day. For two hours, we talked about family and heritage, about our life histories and future life plans, about passions and desires. It was during these two hours that Mrs. Lisa Jenkins uncovered many of the personal details that made up her character, and I returned the favor. I noted with slight surprise how easily everything seemed to just come flowing out. It was at this point in the day that I began to see Lisa not as a professional who I was expected to impress but rather as a friend and personal mentor.

We were finally obligated to tear ourselves away from the captivating conversation and head back to the office for a 2:30 pm consultation with one of Janssen Therapeutics’ Medical Science Liaisons, who had come to Lisa for legal advice on how to go about discussing a certain drug with interested physicians. Despite the confidential nature of this consultation, the Medical Science Liaison and Lisa both seemed very eager for me to sit in on the discussion. The consultation was followed by another sensitive conversation between Lisa and one of Janssen’s other lawyers regarding the legal boundaries of use of one of Janssen Therapeutics’ products. Again, both were excited for me to listen in. It was quite reassuring to see such eagerness from all the Janssen Therapeutics employees to offer me any learning opportunity they could. Toward the end of the day, a man on the Janssen marketing team whom I had met earlier that day even stopped by specifically with the purpose of inviting me to sit in on a meeting with several other agents the next day.

By somewhere around 4:00 pm, Lisa and I began wrapping up the day, making our final lap around the office so that I could meet as many Janssen employees and see the industry from as many different perspectives as possible. As Lisa and I slowly made our way down the hall toward the exit, out the door, and across the parking lot to her vehicle (earlier, she had insisted on driving me back to campus), I expressed just how grateful I was for this experience and for her benevolence and generosity. She responded humbly that it was no problem at all and that this would not be our last correspondence; she invited me to a meeting sometime in the spring which all of the Janssen Therapeutics lawyers would attend to discuss the company’s legal matters. As a prospective law student, this invitation seemed like an incredible opportunity to see the industry from a more intense legal perspective and to interact with some of the greatest minds in health law. Attempting (and probably failing) to suppress the huge stupid grin on my face, I graciously accepted the invitation.

While I was fairly confident in my volition to attend law school following undergraduate studies and eventually work in the legal field, this Princeternship has solidified my desire to pursue health law in particular over other fields like international law or corporate law. I find the field not only interesting and exciting but also quite rewarding, and look forward to further exploring this as an open door in my future. Thanks to this Princeternship, I now see the industry of health law as a truly viable career option for my future.

I would like to thank Mrs. Lisa Jenkins for offering this valuable learning experience, as well as each of the Janssen Therapeutics employees who took time out of their busy schedules to make sure my Princeternship was an enlightening and encouraging experience I may use to move forward in finding a career path about which I am truly passionate. Thank you to all, and I hope we come across each other’s paths in the future.