Debra Leith

Special Counsel
Full contact info

About Debra

Dr. Debra K. Leith is special counsel in the life sciences practice group, after having joined Cooley in 2008. She has over 20 years of experience in the intellectual property and life sciences fields of law. Debra uses her broad professional experience in advising and counseling clients in a spectrum of life sciences transactions, from nondisclosure and technology licensing agreements to strategic alliances to intellectual property analyses and strategy. She represents a variety of life sciences clients, from startups to global pharmaceutical companies.

Prior to joining Cooley, she was special counsel to Heller Ehrman. Previously, she served as vice president of the intellectual property group for ZymoGenetics, Inc., a large biotechnology company in Seattle. In this capacity, she was primarily responsible for corporate agreements and licensing arrangements.

Debra has a PhD in medical microbiology, is registered to practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office, and has extensive in-house counsel experience. She has been a speaker at various local and national meetings and seminars.

During law school at the University of Washington, she was a member of the Washington Law Review. 


University of Washington School of Law
JD, 1987

University of Oregon Health Sciences Center
PhD, 1979

Linfield College
BA, 1974

Admissions & credentials

District of Columbia


Memberships & affiliations

American Bar Association

Licensing Executives Society

Washington State Bar Association

District of Columbia Bar Association

Washington State Patent Law Association

Association of Corporate Patent Counsel

American Intellectual Property Law Association