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Trad&Corp participated to Sanofi legal team Webinar on Covid-19 context

Updated: Dec 13, 2020

Trad&Corp leadership Team has participated on the invitation of HEAD Law School to the webinar on ‘’How Sanofi legal team navigates in the Covid-19 context" on Tuesday 1st December 2020. We are very honored to hear from Mrs Karen Linehan, SANOFI Executive Vice President, Legal Affairs and General Counsel for an outstanding live Lecture on line.

Within the pandemic context, General Counsels appear to play a key role to define and implement strategies for exiting the crisis. Legal Counsels have been led to adjust their ways of working.


SANOFI, a top Company in CAC40 developed a program focus on Covid-19. Their fight includes developing vaccine, supporting patients, security business (manufacturing even during pandemic to keep providing medicines) and keeping high standards on ethics and compliance.

The "Crisis mode" response Since the Company decided a global lockdown on March 16th, SANOFI had to overcome new challenges like many companies and adapt their way of working. Employees – and so all SANOFI team – had to deal with small appart, home-schooled children problems, illnesses, and so on. Solutions offered were: talk openly, meeting more virtually, call people to get news, virtual coffee break/lunch, see the employees’ children, send pictures, more frequent exchanges, virtual country visit, supporting message and tips (How to organize a workspace at home, testimonies…).

Plus, the Company turned to a “crisis mode” with being proactive with business partner on how to support them and what really matters. The use of electronic devices also increased with Zoom or Teams meeting, Whatsapp groups and electronic signature.

“Being in a crisis means there is a room for opportunities”

Working in an international Company also means knowing that the situation is different country by country now and maintaining interaction between teamwork safely is key. Companies should remain creative and be open to new Company culture, remembering that “being in a crisis means there is a room for opportunities”.


Thanks to Xavier Coron (Legal Head of GBU Sanofi Pasteur) & Anne Willey (Head of Legal International Com. Ops GBU Sanofi Pasteur), we also have had a head-up on following topics.

The vaccine process

We estimate that 50% are reluctant against Covid-19 vaccine. And everyone is free to have his/her own thought about it. However, vaccine is seen by WHO as the #3 most useful tool to improve the global health of the Planet, after clean water (#1) and access to toilet (#2). Also, let’s quote Bill Gates who gave $65 billion for vaccine “I wish my personal Boeing Air Plane will be as safe as a vaccine”. In fact, vaccine is part of the prevention kind of pharmaceuticals, made to protect ourself and the others and follows strict rules that are monitored by a vaccine lawyer.

Xavier Coron (Legal Head of GBU Sanofi Pasteur) explained is role as a dedicate vaccine lawyer: he intervenes in the vaccine development, industrialization, commercialization and eventually withdrawal.

The vaccine challenge

In the case of COVID-19, SANOFI is working since 11 months on the vaccine. What is specific with this case is the need to work in record times while maintaining security, safety, principals, rules and laws. How the risk is taken into account for a fast vaccine? SANOFI obey to the regulation, clinical study rules, good manufacturing practices. The challenge is to work fast with high ethics requirements : no concession or compromised are made and the patient’s safety is #1 preoccupation.


This returned experience presented by Sam Manardo (Associate General Counsel & Head of US Litigation) and Jonathan Amar (Corporate Counsel) reflects perfectly the evolution that can be seen in the society due to new restrictions.

The last nine months have been exceptional and changed the way we conduct everything. This first experience of a full remote trial in the USA may have created some changes that are going to continue over the pandemic and be applied in many areas. SANOFI experienced the trial via Zoom and shared their challenges, their complications and feedbacks. All those comments can easily be imagined in a Company situation and be applied for business meetings.

The challenges were mostly logistical (set-up a virtual trial site or create protocols for Zoom trials). Then, they had to interfere with distracted jurys (kids, pets at home), the inability for some to use technology, the unequal Access to internet and a impaired jury deliberation.

Then, once over, it is time for balancing the situation. Zoom trials have some pros: make accessible to more public, enhance communication among legal team, no travel related costs. Whereas Zoom trials are also facing tech difficulties and resulted to be slower that a in-person trial. SANOFI concluded that Zoom trials really work.

To conclude, SANOFI legal team resumed their three main challenges with interaction while working remotely. First, they had to translate managing a person to relationships in front of Zoom: talking multiple times, having routines, doing some fun things is important. Secondly, remember how to manage time appropriately: preserving a reasonable life balance and private space. Finally, they had to deal with how re-invent people’s job in order to keep it while working from home will be the new norm. Basically, all those concerns are the same all companies are facing now-a-days.

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