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Top 10 30-Somethings Profile – Aliya Ramji

Top Ten 30 Somethings
Y ears ago, during a productive and hopeful moment, Aliya Ramji posted her resume on a job site for startups and forgot about it. Two years later she received an email from the CEO of Figure 1, a photo-sharing (or case-sharing) app for healthcare professionals, asking her to interview at the company as an in-house lawyer.

Ramji’s background in healthcare was a perfect fit and she joined Figure 1 as its first lawyer, when it was operating in six countries. Today it has almost triple the number of employees, and has users in over 190 countries.

The app allows medical professionals around the world to share images of patient ailments and seek the opinions of other healthcare providers. Recently, a nurse in Haiti reached out to the Figure 1 community to share a photo of a 22-hour-old patient’s symptoms. Within an hour she had 16,000 views and over 200 healthcare professionals offering to help identify the disease.

Ramji helped craft a consent form built into the app that gives doctors all the tools they need to obtain consent from their patients. The consent form is tailored to the doctor’s particular jurisdiction and is translated into the local language so the patient understands the form. Figure 1’s consent form is translated into more than 40 languages.

It sounds like a lot of work, but 33-year-old Ramji says, “Once you do it in a few countries, you create a repeatable process and that’s what we did.” Part of that process was working with outside counsel. She credits her network, partly built through ACC, with helping Figure 1 expand. “As a small business, legal fees are the last thing you want to spend your money on, so we negotiated a flat rate with every firm that worked with us,” she explains. “Not a single firm around the world charges us on billable hours and I don’t think we could have worked with anyone who did.”

The power of Figure 1 is in its network. It has over a million healthcare professionals who collaborate on cases every day. Venture capital firm Union Square Ventures backs the company while it builds its network.

Ramji, who grew up in Calgary, always knew she wanted to practice law. She was talkative and argumentative as a child, and thought she would be a criminal prosecutor when she got older. She studied biotechnology and genetics as an undergraduate, and she later realized in law school that this gave her a great background for IP law. Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, her first law firm, had a robust pharmaceutical litigation practice where she started her legal career. From there, she moved to her first in-house position at the Canadian Standards Association, an organization that certifies products. She knew she wanted to teach law and earned an LL.M. in international legal studies from New York University’s School of Law in order to teach.

Today, when Ramji isn’t disrupting the healthcare industry, she teaches “Legal Aspects of International Business” at Ryerson University in Toronto. And she isn’t the only Figure 1 employee there — her CEO, who reached out to her all those years ago, isn’t far away. He’s a tenured professor, right down the hall.

More 2016 Top 10 30-Somethings Profiles


Top 10 30-Somethings Profile – Farida Alkaff

Top 10 30-Somethings Profile – Brett Dakin

Top 10 30-Somethings Profile – Matt Nolan

Top 10 30-Somethings Profile – Courtney Gregoire

Top 10 30-Somethings Profile – Julie Gresham

Top 10 30-Somethings – Rustam “Rusty” Juma

Top 10 30-Somethings – Lorne O'Reilly

About the Author

Joshua Shields is the associate editor at the Association of Corporate Counsel.


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