People and Culture
Balancing Legal Work at Gilead and Family Life with Triplets: Joel’s Story
Stories@Gilead - June 13, 2023 - 4 min read
Joel Silver began his career at Gilead a decade ago and has been a working parent for half that time as the father of triplets. “We went from zero to three kids all at once, so it was a pretty huge adjustment,” he acknowledges. “But it was a really amazing and positive experience, and everyone on my team was incredibly supportive.”
Joel spent his first seven years at Gilead as a patent attorney before establishing the company’s Regulatory Law group at the beginning of the pandemic. Driven by the potential to treat COVID-19, the team worked closely alongside Gilead’s Regulatory Affairs, Quality and Global Patient Safety functions, navigating the Food and Drug Administration guidelines and the emergency use authorization process.
“I’m proud to work for a company whose medicines have helped so many people,” says Joel. “It’s something I regularly talk about at home, so much so that my five-year-old daughters are beginning to understand and appreciate it.”
Juggling work and family can feel challenging, and Joel especially felt that after his girls were first born. Joel credits Gilead’s generous parental leave policy with helping ease the transition to parenthood. He and his wife have figured out how to divide their morning and evening schedules in a way that works for everyone.
Last year, Joel was honored as a Working Parent of the Year as part of Gilead being named one of Seramount's 100 Best Companies for Working Parents. The award recognizes commitment to careers, families and communities. For Joel, it’s the people and culture at Gilead that helps working parents bring their best selves to their jobs.
“Some of the people on my direct team are parents to young children,” he says. “We acknowledge the significance of this role, and we support each other as parents.”
From Joel’s perspective, it’s not the big things that make the real difference for working parents at Gilead. Instead, he says it’s the attitudes, support and small accommodations that happen on a day-to-day basis. He credits the elimination of core business hours with helping him to be there for his family when needed, including school field trips and important drop-offs or pick-ups.
“I want my daughters to know that they’re the most important people in my life, and I’m grateful that my internal clients and my team and the leadership at Gilead have been supportive of this,” he says.
Joel is deeply committed to helping others and to that end he established the pro bono group at Gilead in 2015. He and his colleagues logged nearly 400 pro bono hours last year alone, supporting domestic violence and juvenile immigration cases, which resulted in restraining orders and legal status determinations for their clients. Additionally, Joel was awarded a California Bar In-House Counsel award, as well as the 2022 Dorothy M. Wolfe award from the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County for his pro bono work.
“It’s been great to see the continued support for this program by our leadership team over the years,” says Joel. “And as a parent, it means a lot to work for a company that shares the same values – not only supporting our pro bono work, but more broadly championing women’s and LGBTQ+ rights.”
As he reflects on the future, he knows there’s more work and challenges ahead. As a father to three girls, it’s important to Joel to break down gender stereotypes, especially as they relate to the historic expectations for moms and dads.
“My wife is also an attorney, and I want her to feel like she can pursue her passions at work in the same way I can, with the ultimate goal of being a good role model for our daughters.”