Jacqueline Wells was recently appointed General Counsel for The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. In that capacity, Wells serves as chief legal advisor to the Lab and its senior leadership and heads the Lab's Office of Legal Counsel.
The Lab's Office of Legal Counsel, which includes Export Control and the Office of Patent Counsel, provides many services, ranging from the relatively simple — providing advice on how to respond to external inquires, negotiate nondisclosure agreements or craft a letter — to the potentially complicated, including counseling on matters of government contracting or personnel law, filing patent applications and licensing technology transfers, reviewing and negotiating contracts, advising on international transactions, and defending lawsuits.
Wells says the positions she held before joining the Lab exposed her to "some really basic and good business tenets," particularly her stint in the 1990s as vice president and general counsel for BlueCross/BlueShield of the National Capital Area. She was 34 years old when named to that position, which called for providing senior executive leadership and counsel during congressional investigations and a subsequent financial and cultural turnaround of the company. She also helped draft federal and state legislation regarding regulatory practices, negotiated several strategic business transactions, and significantly reduced the company's legal costs. "I feel as if I amassed 25 years of business and legal experience during those six years!" she says.
She subsequently served as vice president and general counsel in Salt Lake City, Utah and later senior vice president and chief legal officer in Portland, Ore., for The Regence Group, an affiliation of four Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah. In those positions, Wells provided senior executive leadership and counsel and oversaw legal and other function in the four states.
Her earlier professional experience also includes positions as an in-house counsel at Inova Health Systems in Fairfax, Va., and associate attorney at the law firm of Donahue, Ehrmantraut & Montedonico in Washington, D.C.
The Maryland native received a bachelor's degree in biological sciences from the University of Maryland and her law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law.