Maria Isabel (“Marie”) Manley leads Sidley’s Life Sciences team in London and is a distinguished thought leader and adviser on EU and UK regulatory law. She has represented some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and life sciences companies before the EU and English Courts and regulatory authorities, including the European Commission, the European and UK medicines authorities, and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
“I have always been inspired by my mum, who had to face many challenges in her all-too-short life, who taught us to fight for our dreams and to never give up.”
What attracted you to the practice of law and what aspect of your practice do you enjoy the most?
As a law student, I wanted to make a positive contribution to the world and make it a better place. I particularly enjoy the interaction with clients, analyzing the issues they are facing, and finding solutions to address them. The buzz, which goes with the team efforts we deploy to assist our clients, is energizing.
Tell us about a professional goal you are proud of achieving, and what (or who) inspired you to go for it.
I am really proud and honored to have been awarded UK “Lawyer of the Year” in Life Sciences Law by The Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom 2021 — particularly because I am a Swiss and Spanish lawyer educated in Switzerland and the U.S. I have always been inspired by my mum, who had to face many challenges in her all-too-short life, who taught us to fight for our dreams and to never give up, to learn from mistakes, and push ourselves to be the best person we can be.
What is the most memorable case you led and what made it so memorable?
Winning my first landmark case before the Court of Justice of the European Union, the highest court in Europe, against the European Commission. The case resulted in a life-saving drug being made available to infants suffering from a liver enzyme deficiency.
On a personal note, what has been your go-to self-care activity in this remote work environment?
The COVID pandemic and the quarantine periods we all had to face have provided me with the opportunity to spend more time with my three gorgeous daughters, my lovely husband, and our two highly affectionate puppies. My family is my strength, my anchor, providing me stability and perspective.
Can you share with us a saying or quote that gives you inspiration or helps you stay centered?
Not to be obsessed by our mistakes, but to learn from them. After all: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”