Tell us about your current role as a General Counsel…

I’m currently working with Hyperfine, Inc., the inventor of the world’s first portable MRI scanner.  I’m the general counsel, chief compliance officer, and corporate secretary.  We’re in medical device industry.

How does your industry background prepare you for the GC role?

I’ve worked my entire career, except for a 2-year stint with Waymo (self-driving cars), in health care and life sciences.  I’ve got experience with FDA medical device, healthcare reimbursement, manufacturing, and I’ve been the head lawyer building a function previously.  I also have significant contracting and compliance experience. I’m looking to continue developing my business strategy skills and specifically in legal, public company legal experience.

How do the laws and the regulatory landscape affect your role as General Counsel?

FDA clearances, international regulatory clearances, SEC public company rules, privacy requirements.  We are a small, early revenue company despite being public and so we are always reviewing how we meet our legal requirements given limited resources and needing to remain incredibly nimble and fast-paced.

How do you, as General Counsel, keep your team and business up with the industry changes?

I anticipate there will be even more connected devices and inter-connected devices in hospital settings as well as in-home settings.  We’ll see continued downward pressure on pricing and reimbursement for procedures as more health care moves to lower cost/less intensive settings (again, in-home health care).  We are already looking at how do we price our product and get buy-in from providers who would be adversely affected by these downward pressures. We’re also collaborating with researchers on using our device in alternative care settings.

How do you build a legal team? How do you hire?

I look for legal talent wherever I can find it!  Whether it’s in law firms or through my networks, it’s important to be open minded. I also don’t focus on “pedigree”, and instead focus on experience, adaptability, eagerness to learn and take ownership.  Especially for small teams, I hire for one expertise and focus on what else the attorney wants to learn. For example, I have an employment law specialist on my team who also wants to learn FDA law, and she handles all of our procurement contracts and is implementing processes across the board (not only in employment/people operations).

About Neela Paykel

Neela is a seasoned attorney with over twenty years’ experience in regulatory law, corporate transactions, autonomous vehicles, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare. Currently, she is General Counsel of Hyperfine, Inc., the inventor of the world’s first portable MRI machine. Previously, Neela was with Waymo, formerly the Google self-driving car project. Before the detour into autonomous vehicles, Neela was in various roles at top healthcare companies, including Blue Shield of California, CVS Caremark, and Genentech. She was also in private practice in Washington, DC. Neela has a Bachelor of Arts in International Business Administration from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, and a Juris Doctorate from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC. When not working, Neela is involved in a number of activities, including the Women’s General Counsel Network, serving on the board of the Lamorinda Arts Council, and serving as treasurer for Women of Isaiah. Neela currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, with her husband Joe, their two kids Sammy (17) and Maya (15), and their energetic dog Buddy.