Guillermo Artiles, partner in the Government Affairs and Intellectual Property & Information Technology Practices in McCarter’s Newark office, returns to the firm after a year of public service in New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s administration. Moy Ogilvie, McCarter’s Diversity and Inclusion Chair and partner in its Products Liability, Mass Torts & Consumer Class Actions Practice, sits down with him for an update since his last interview.
1. Guillermo, welcome back from your tenure in Governor Murphy’s administration. What are the key takeaways from your time in public service?
Guillermo Artiles: Thanks, Moy. It’s nice to be back home. Serving Governor Murphy and the people of New Jersey was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I haven’t had much time to think about my year in Trenton since returning to McCarter, but I’ll never forget the hard-working people who occupy the august halls of our executive office and legislature as well as each department, authority, and agency. We’re fortunate to have so many decent people who are dedicated to serving and addressing some of the most critical needs of New Jersey—and we have plenty of them. It is incumbent on the best and brightest to help make our state better for subsequent generations, and I encourage others to take time to serve.
2. Has your view about the inner workings of the government changed?
Guillermo Artiles: I’ve always had a general understanding of government, thanks to my undergraduate studies in government at Hamilton College and later at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. However, being in the room—at the table—made a great difference in my appreciation for the entire process. Within a few weeks I began to view the legislature and, by extension, the governor’s office as quasi-judicial chambers. In some ways it felt like I was clerking again in the federal court. Every issue, no matter how small, had advocates on each side fervently arguing their position. Ultimately, our legislative leadership and the governor have to agree on an approach that makes the most sense for the people of New Jersey while taking into account the arguments advanced by the advocates, who are not always happy with the outcome. As a litigator, I know that feeling all too well. But we can all rest easy knowing that almost every issue debated in Trenton receives its due course.
3. How do you plan to utilize this government experience in your law practice?
Guillermo Artiles: I plan to provide the same level of attention and detail to clients as I did before serving the governor, but I can provide a new level of insight for clients who interact with public entities at the state, county, and municipal levels—specifically those looking for regulatory, procurement, and incentives counsel, among other things.
4. Any other updates for our readers since your last interview?
Guillermo Artiles: I’ve got more gray hair and am fortunate enough to be taking on the most important role of my life in a few weeks—thanks to my wife—as dad!
1. Guillermo, you were an in-house corporate counsel and also worked with the Office of the Governor of New Jersey before joining McCarter. Can you share some of the reasons why you chose our firm?
Guillermo Artiles: I left Greenskies Renewable Energy as corporate counsel when the company was being acquired. During that time, United States District Court Judge Esther Salas, for whom I clerked, called me. Her friend asked if she had any former law clerks who worked on pharmaceutical litigation while clerking for Her Honor. Judge Salas mentioned my name and suggested I meet with some of the IP lawyers at McCarter. Of course, I did as she suggested—as I always do. I really enjoyed meeting with Mike Friscia, Jonathan Short, Scott Christie, Mark Anania and Jack Flaherty. I also had old friends in Dave Sorin and Rich Hernandez at the firm whom I knew were high-caliber lawyers. I knew fairly quickly that I was joining a great team.
2. Tell me more about your focus on Hatch-Waxman litigation in federal courts.
Guillermo Artiles: The District Court of New Jersey is a hotbed for Hatch-Waxman litigation. Named after Senator Orrin Hatch (UT) and Congressman Henry Waxman (CA), the law encourages the manufacture of generic drugs and pits those generic manufacturers against brand manufacturers in federal court. I represent brand manufacturers in their disputes against generic manufacturers who seek to enter the marketplace before expiration of the brand manufacturer’s drug patent(s).
3. How did you become a Government Affairs Agent and adviser on U.S.-Cuba relations?
Guillermo Artiles: I have always loved politics and policy. Government Affairs work, or lobbying as it is commonly called, allows me to marry those interests with my law license. An extension of both is my work in Trenton lobbying for clients like Dell, and my work in Cuba which goes back to my collegiate thesis on the Helms-Burton Act (codification of the U.S. embargo against Cuba) and law school Law Review Note on the opening of diplomatic embassies. Since then, I have written and spoken extensively on the topic, including an interview with John Stossel on Fox News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7bcM7jwPLg.
4. Name someone who inspired you, and why?
Guillermo Artiles: My mother and father are my greatest inspiration. As the first in my family to graduate from college, I do all that I do as a thank you for all they have sacrificed. Beyond mom and dad, Judge Salas—or my Madrina (Godmother in Spanish)—is someone whom I think about often when looking for the light.
5. What influenced you to become a lawyer?
Guillermo Artiles: As is often the case for the first to go to college, I was dealt one of two professional options: lawyer or doctor. I was bad at math, so the law was essentially forced upon me. Love of politics and debate also drew me to the law, but only after the disdain for math.
6. How did you get appointed and what will you be working on for New Jersey Governor-Elect Phil Murphy’s Transition Team 2018?
Guillermo Artiles: Some skill and a lot of luck . . . I was appointed to assist the Transition Team’s Energy and Environmental Committee. Both are high priorities for the Murphy Administration. I suspect my background in renewable energy policy and law, having worked on solar projects for Walmart, Target, and school districts in New Jersey, helped my candidacy. I am also a big fan of Gov-Elect Murphy and am fortunate to call some of his advisers my friends.
7. How do you spend your time giving back to the community?
Guillermo Artiles:I am very involved with my professional and charitable communities. I believe it is incumbent to give back to those who have given to us. I sit on the boards of the New Jersey Legal Education & Empowerment Project, Hispanic Bar Association, Waterfront Project, Full Court Peace, Americas Society/Council of the Americas, Hamilton College Alumni Recruiting Team, Cuba Study Group, CubaNow, New Cuba PAC, and the United States District Court of New Jersey’s Merit Selection Panel.
8. Name a hard lesson you learned from and how it has made you a better lawyer.
Guillermo Artiles: It happened while I was clerking. I wear my emotions on my sleeve and have a very poor poker face. During a heated settlement discussion between parties, while sitting immediately to Judge Salas’s left, I began vigorously shaking my head. I was visibly flustered when I thought one lawyer was misleading the Court. Judge Salas had to basically call a timeout to scold me back in Chambers as a result of my outwardly blatant disagreement with counsel. Needless to say, I am much more discreet these days—or at least I try to be!
9. When you take off your lawyer hat, what do you enjoy doing?
Guillermo Artiles: Not sure the lawyer hat’s ever entirely off, but I love traveling with my wife, rooting for my New York Mets, going to St. Lawrence Church for noon Mass on Sundays, golfing with buddies, talking politics with anyone, and spending holidays feasting with family.
10. Name one unique fact about you?Guillermo Artile
I have been to Cuba five times.