Vicki A. Margolis, a corporate attorney who also performed leading roles in local theater, died of breast cancer April 13 at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. The Quarry Lake resident was 50.
Born in Cleveland, she was the daughter of Burt Margolis, an accountant, and Barbara "Bobbi" Bloom Tuber, a businesswoman. She spent summers with family in Baltimore and was a 1983 Cleveland Heights High School graduate. She earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Miami University of Ohio. She was a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law and was named to the school's Order of the Coif, an honor society.
She joined Venable LLP law firm and became one of its partners and chair of its patent litigation group. Colleagues said she worked in patent and trademark litigation. Her clients included Johnson & Johnson pharmaceuticals, biotech, financial services firms and consumer products companies. She also worked on a trademark copyright infringement case for the old Baltimore Stallions football team.
"Her field was intellectual property litigation," said George Johnston, a legal colleague who is retired from Venable. "She worked quietly and made the legal victories happen. Vicki was a remarkable person. She had a real charm. She was beautiful but was never one to brag. She had a wonderful sense of humor. She was also a creditable actress and had poise. ... For a tragically short life, she led a remarkable one."
Mr. Johnston said she was among "the brightest and most capable lawyers I have dealt with."
In a 2007 Sun article, she said that when graduated from law school, few universities offered courses in patent work.
"Now, there are very savvy attorneys coming out saying they're going to get a degree in science or engineering, become a member of the patent bar and be a good trial lawyer," she said in 2007. "Take a pharmaceutical client, and I need to talk to them about one of their drugs. So on the legal team is someone who speaks their language — that's an incredible advantage."
She was named as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women by the Daily Record and Baltimore Business Journal's "40 Under 40."
She was a member of the character committee of the Court of Appeals of Maryland for the Sixth Appellate Circuit. She reviewed and mentored applicants applying for admission to the Maryland Bar.
Ms. Margolis left Venable and became vice president and chief counsel of intellectual property and global marketing for Kimberly Clark, makers of Kleenex and other products. She was named a "Leader in Law 2014" by the Wisconsin Law Journal. She lived in Appleton, Wis., for nearly seven years and returned to Baltimore for medical treatment in 2013.
"Vicki was three things: a fine attorney, a wonderful person and a very strong partner," said James L. Shea, chair of Venable. "She grew in collaboration with others here and also grew a large intellectual litigation office. The matters were high stakes. She was very successful and made a decision to join a client. We missed her, but she wanted to do it."
Mr. Shea recalled her smile and ability communicate with it. "Her smile was charming and insightful," he said.
She attended Broadway plays and appeared locally at the Mobtown Theater, Theatre Hopkins, Cockpit in Court, the Vagabonds, Spotlighters and the Fells Point Corner Theatre. She also rode horses and took riding trips to Ireland, South America and Africa. She kayaked and hiked with her dogs, and she had season tickets to Ravens games.
"Vicki never let fear hold her back. We hiked the Canadian Rockies, we toured the vineyards of the Loire Valley, we flew over Mont Tremblant in a tiny plane, we tramped around Vermont," said Terri L. Turner, a friend who is a Johns Hopkins University attorney. "Vicki was always ready for the next adventure. Vicki was a person of extraordinary talents. She was a gifted actress, a first-rate lawyer and a passionate advocate for the things she cared about. But above all, she was an exemplary friend."
Ms. Margolis served on the boards of the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Susan G. Komen Maryland and the Appleton, Wis., United Way.
"Vicki was never about herself. She was giving and kind," said her aunt, Ava Lenet, a Pikesville resident. "She had the ability to reach out to family and friends. She put the spotlight on others, never herself."
Services were held April 15 at Sol Levinson and Bros.
In addition to her parents, who live in Cleveland, and her aunt, survivors include her brother, Kevin Margolis of Pepper Pike, Ohio; a half brother, Darryl Margolis, also of Cleveland; and nieces and nephews.