When one enters the office of Hunter Baker, based upon the degrees hanging on the wall, one might not be sure if they’ve come for a doctors visit, a legal consultation or a colorful chemistry experiment.
Despite extensive training in chemistry and medical school, the cross-trained attorney and long-time Chelsea resident has now pretty well staked his claim in the world of patents, intellectual property and inventions – even recently being dubbed one of only a few ‘Boston Super Lawyers’ and a ‘Rising Star’ in the practice of Intellectual Property law.
Baker, 44, is the co-chair of the Pharmaceutical Group in the Boston law firm of Wolf, Greenfield and Sacks, and has taken an interesting route to becoming a rising star in his corner of the legal world.
After growing up in Roanoke, VA, Baker moved to Cambridge to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and study chemistry. He continued on that track after graduating MIT, pursuing a Master’s Degree and a Ph.D at Harvard University for chemistry.
Then, he turned to the medical track and attended Harvard Medical School – thinking that he would one day be a great medical researcher who might discover innovative treatments and medications.
However, a funny thing happened on the way to that medical degree.
Baker felt like maybe it wasn’t exactly what he wanted to do.
Though he finished medical school, he prepared himself to hit the brakes on his career and drive down a new path.
“I got my Ph.D. in the Chemistry Department at Harvard,” he told the Record. “Then, as I was working away towards my medical degree, I just started thinking of other things I wanted to do. I thought about patent law and I enjoyed learning about new inventions and working with inventors. I had seen the legal process involving patents in the biotechnology field during school, and I just decided that I’d like to try that. It was pretty much there that things changed for me.”
That change, though, he said he never anticipated.
“When I first finished school and started at Harvard, I certainly thought I’d go into academic medicine – doing clinical work and having a research lab,” he said. “As things evolved, to do that career track, I would have had to do even more training…I had already spent a long time in school and was looking to get my career started.”
So, having finished medical school and a slew of other academic degrees, Baker hit the classroom for one final round, enrolling in the Law School at Boston College where he eventually graduated Cum Laude. Then he entered the legal field and had the unique distinction of not only being able to help pharmaceutical inventors get through the legal patent process, but also being able to fully understand their research and product.
He soon became a partner at Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston, and then moved to join Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks – where he was recently voted a shareholder in the firm.
“I will certainly be here until I retire,” he said.
Another place he has been quite a while is Chelsea, where he moved in 1992 when he was in graduate school.
He lived in the Mill Creek Condos for quite some time, and then moved to Admiral’s Hill. He said he has always felt that Chelsea is a great value.
“Particularly, the reason I moved to Chelsea was the proximity to the city and the ease with which you can get in,” said Baker. “It’s a place you can find a convenient, nice place to live without spending a ton of money. Admiral’s Hill is just really beautiful with the green space. It’s just a great value to me.”
Baker said he is happy to see the new direction Chelsea is going, listing the new Market Basket, the Starbuck’s and Mary O’Malley Park as some of his personal highlights.
“All the stores that have opened up in that space (by the Market Basket) has changed the Mall area completely, and also the shopping area where the Home Depot and the New Brown Jug are has really gotten better,” he said. “I enjoy living here.”
Baker’s 2012 Massachusetts Rising Star designation by Super Lawyers was highlighted in Boston Magazine and New England Super Lawyers this past November. Rising Stars recognizes the top attorneys who are 40 or younger or have been in practice for 10 years or less.