Ira M. Kalina



Ira Kalina protects and leverages client innovation and negotiates and executes multimillion-dollar strategic agreements and transactions. For more than two decades, Ira has been advising multinationals and other companies on the development, distribution and monetization of technology. His work spans technology transactions, outsourcing, strategic corporate ventures, information technology, online initiatives, data licensing and open-source matters. He is a go-to resource for clients in financial services, health care, media, gaming, entertainment, education and traditional manufacturing industries. Ira regularly counsels clients on SaaS/Cloud services, artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data and open source projects, from project ideation, RFP and contract negotiations through ongoing operational adjustments and exit strategies. He also advises on broad-based outsourcing arrangements. He works with private equity and strategic acquirers in technology, privacy and commercial contract evaluations, then seamlessly transitions to representing the acquisitions in ongoing transactional work and vendor consolidation.

Clients rely on Ira for advice on developing and leveraging innovation, whether independently or in conjunction with third parties through joint ventures, investments or strategic alliances. He offers both legal and business acumen, having earlier led business development for an internet startup, where, among other things, he developed relationships with distribution partners. Today, Ira helps clients establish joint research and development projects, sponsored research programs with universities and national laboratories, and dedicated labs between universities and industry. He also assists with inbound/outbound licensing programs, technology transfer and distribution and asset distribution.

Software Licensing

Ira regularly counsels clients on software licenses, SaaS/Cloud services, and Big Data projects, from contract negotiations through system implementation. He also advises on broad-based outsourcing arrangements. Ira is an authority on the technology issues of internet-based businesses, including site development, infrastructure implementation and hosting through distribution, content licensing, promotions and advertising. He regularly counsels clients on open-source licensing, open-source initiatives and the potential impact of open-source on software development and mergers and acquisitions.

Health Care Technology

With extensive knowledge of information technology’s application to the health care and life sciences industries, Ira provides bespoke counsel on issues related to development, acquisition and distribution of technologies, ranging from electronic medical records and ERPs to AI-driven population health management solutions. Ira represents the broad spectrum of constituents in the sector: academic medical centers, physician practices, technology vendors, consultants, industry-focused trade associations and multinational pharmaceutical/medical device providers.

Technology Experience

Ira’s background includes a role as vice president of business development and general counsel for a Chicago-based internet startup, where he developed relationships with online content and service providers, network providers and distribution partners. Ira also previously served as licensing counsel to WMS Gaming Inc., a leading manufacturer of video slot machines, and Midway Games Inc., a leading developer of home video games. He advised the companies on software development, inbound and outbound licensing, e-commerce issues, advertising and promotions.

Representative Experience

  • Assisted a publicly traded retailer in negotiations with all of its strategic vendors to re-engineer and centralize its e-commerce platform. Projects ranged from traditional software license, telecommunications/infrastructure and call center agreements to more specialized payment processing, link sharing, SEO services, and brand loyalty programs.
  • Managed the outsourced IT and strategic vendor contracting for a multibillion-dollar health system, ranging from high-volume day-to-day agreements to multi-year, multimillion-dollar strategic agreements across all service areas including clinical, revenue cycle management, human resources and talent management, finance and telecom.
  • Advised an industry consortium comprising multinational corporations in establishing a project to engage in a multi-year, multi-party, multimillion-dollar development and distribution of a revolutionary integration platform designed to improve collaboration between customers, vendors and regulators. Work with the consortium to manage vendor relations and develop, implement and negotiate the various agreements that will establish the framework for the on-going commercial ecosystem.
  • Counseled a software as a service (SaaS) company from inception through its recent public offering to develop its cloud solution, negotiating the license agreements with primary third party technology providers, establishing and updating the form customer agreements to minimize intervention and increase speed-to-close, and advise on privacy, licensing and ecommerce issues.
  • Negotiated the strategic co-development, licensing and distribution components of corporate venture transactions by strategic investors in industries including financial services, media, health care, consumer products and pharmaceuticals.
  • Represented data aggregators in developing form agreements and commercial models to license and distribute data to third parties, including negotiating and adjusting these agreements with strategic customers and resellers.

Related Industries


Bar Admissions



University of Chicago Law School
J.D. (1994)

University of Michigan
B.A. (1991)

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives

Firm Blog Contributions

  • Discerning Data – a forum that discusses developments in privacy, cybersecurity, information governance and data analytics

Leadership & Community

Firm Leadership

  • Leader, Technology Transactions Team, 2023-present
  • Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP — Vice Chair, Intellectual Property Group, 2009-19; Chair, Information Technology Team, 2009-19


  • Chambers USA — Illinois, Technology & Outsourcing, 2015-23
  • Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) Patent 1000: The World's Leading Patent Professionals — 2015, 2018-23
Awards Methodology
No aspect of these recognitions has been approved by the highest court of any state.
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