Leslie A. Thornton


  • JD, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, 2012; supervising editor,  California Law Review
  • PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2009; Delta Omega; Johnson & Johnson Community Healthcare Scholar
  • BA (Psychology and Flute Performance), summa cum laude, University of California, Los Angeles, 2004; Phi Beta Kappa


  • California, 2012
  • American Bar Association
  • American Health Lawyers Association
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
  • National Council of University Research Administrators

Leslie A. Thornton


Leslie Thornton joined Ropes & Gray in 2012 as an associate practicing in the corporate department with an emphasis on health care. Leslie advises academic medical centers, universities, research institutes, hospitals, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, managed care plans, health-focused startups, long-term care providers and other health care organizations regarding a broad range of compliance, regulatory and transactional issues.

Prior to law school, Leslie completed doctoral studies at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has experience as an academic researcher in both public health and psychiatric settings, including extensive training in advanced statistical and epidemiologic methods.


  • Research. Provides ongoing assistance to research institutions and industry sponsors conducting research in humans and animals, including clinical trials issues, research grants and contracts matters, research misconduct, government audits and investigations, research compliance program design and implementation, and inter-institutional research issues (e.g., research disputes, shared use of facilities and animals). In 2015 and 2016, completed two full-time secondments, each 5-months in duration, within the in-house research and development legal divisions of two different pharmaceutical/medical device manufacturers.
  • Privacy and Security. Provides ongoing advice to a range of clients regarding health care privacy and security matters, including implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), as well as related responses to security breaches and incidents under federal and state law.
  • Health Care Operations. Provides ongoing regulatory and transactional advice to various health care entities, including contract development and negotiation, and corporate formation and governance for both traditional and non-traditional entity structures.
  • Other Representative Experience. 
    • Provides CIA implementation assistance to several large health care entities.
    • Advised academic medical center on development of telemedicine/telehealth program, including physician licensure requirements across state lines.
    • Assisted managed care plan in a comprehensive policy gap analysis.
  • Pro Bono. Maintains active pro bono practice, including (1) representing client seeking federal disability benefits, including appearances before ALJ and submission of brief to federal Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration; (2) evaluating case files from the Innocence Project’s Intake Department to identify incarcerated persons who may qualify for Innocence Project representation; and (3) assisting with contract negotiation on behalf of non-profit school providing study abroad opportunities to low income students.



  • Speaker, “Clinical Trials and Human Research: Complying With New Regulatory Obligations,” Strafford Webinar (January 17, 2018) 
  • Speaker, “Complying With the EU GDPR Requirements in Clinical Trials,” Ropes & Gray Roundtable Discussion (December 2017)
  • Presenter, “Federal Grants: What You Need to Know About the New OMB Rules,” Boston Bar Association (December 10, 2014)
  • Speaker, “FDA & Regulatory Issues Facing Medical and Lifestyle Devices and Apps,” Ropes & Gray West Coast Lunchtime Legal Briefing Teleconference (October 2014)
  • Presenter, “Telemedicine: Virtual Care Creates Real Fraud and Abuse Risks for Hospitals,” AHLA (September 8, 2014)
Cookie Settings