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Anna Kurian Shaw
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A Day in the Life: Anna Kurian Shaw

Medicine may not have made Anna Shaw’s final career cut, but she did end up working for one of the field’s best known medical organizations, the American Red Cross. For a time, anyway.

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"That was one of the most interesting cases that I've ever worked on. It was steeped in history and not at all run of the mill." You can hear the animation in her voice as Anna discusses the landmark case of the iconic organization’s battle with Johnson & Johnson over the use of the red cross emblem. Along with colleagues from Hogan Lovells' Washington, D.C., New York, and Denver offices, they worked tirelessly to keep the ubiquitous symbol associated with the American Red Cross and its array of not-for-profit activities.

“There was nearly 100-year’s worth of history between these two parties and we worked with artifacts and correspondences dating back to the 1920s and 1930s, some even older.” The case, originally filed in 2007, culminated with oral arguments in the Southern District of New York a year later. Ironically, the night that Judge Jed Rakoff faxed his decision to the firm with Hogan Lovells prevailing, the entire team was at a Red Cross dinner. "After all that time, we didn't even get the good news until the following morning! Still, it was a fascinating walk through history."

Anna, born in India, moved to Charleston, SC, with her family at the age of 4. She says she “eventually worked her way up the coast,” attending Duke University then Georgetown Law. "I approached college with an open mind, although I had considered an accelerated medical program," she says. "I took a lot of science classes but I also loved liberal arts and was always a passionate reader. I had to be pulled away from books as a child by my mother in order to get me to the dinner table."

As an undergraduate, Anna worked at Duke University's Hospital from her freshman through sophomore years. But as for a career choice, there was a true moment of clarity. “I literally passed out changing a wound bedside,” she recalls. Yes, her classmates gave her some pretty tough ribbing. Then the lightbulb: “I realized that what I loved about medicine was the diagnosis ― and that's exactly what drew me to law. I love putting pieces of a puzzle together. That's what you do in this profession."

Her interest in IP law and technology came together like a perfect storm in 1999-2000. "So much of IP work was traditionally being done at boutique firms,” where Anna started her career. “With the tech boom, intellectual property was really evolving, really taking off."

Anna says the combination of Hogan Lovells has had a tremendously positive effect on her work. "Only a handful of firms can match us as far as breadth and depth of knowledge. We don't only have ‘offices’ around the world. We have offices staffed with people who are truly knowledgeable in their field. Lawyers I enjoy working with and whose judgment I trust."

Since the combination, Anna says she has noticed a tangible new energy at the firm that is opening up new client potential and opportunities. "It is such a great mix of smart, ambitious, committed people who are focused ― but they're also human beings. They have not let the law turn them into robots."

As a mother of two, a 2-year-old and 4-year-old, her life is busy. “My day starts early but to a degree I can control my schedule and the firm's flexibility helps a lot. There are days when I can drop my son off at pre-school and be part of that.” When she gets home, she spends her time playing and reading with her children and having dinner with her husband, who is also a lawyer. Once the kids are in bed, she often logs back on to check emails and any work priorities that may have popped up, which helps her manage her schedule.

“Because my clients and colleagues are global, I’ll take calls from home. During the course of a day, I follow my clients’ needs starting from East to West.

Anna follows the sun.