Careers in Private Practice in Health Law – Virginia Law Weekly


Drew Calamaro ’21
satirical editor

On Wednesday, October 14, the Health Law Association (HLA) hosted a panel of health lawyers in private practice to share their advice on starting a career in health law. Panelists included Wade Miller ’02 of Alston & Bird Atlanta, Kelley Taylor Hearne ’97 of Faegre Drinker DC, Eric C. Hall ’18 of Jones Day DC and Madison Marcus ’17 of Goodwin NYC.

When asked how they found their footing in health law, three of the lawyers cited having doctors in their family as a major influence on their career choice. Miller joked that her family told her she could be a health care lawyer as long as she wasn’t the one suing the doctors. Miller often conducts internal investigations on behalf of industry clients and defends them against government investigations. Working across from the U.S. attorney’s office is nice, she said, because U.S. attorneys tend to be more cordial and cooperative in litigation.

Marcus de Goodwin found her way into health law when she took an undergraduate health care regulation course. Hall came to health law after realizing the importance of health care to people’s lives while working in the US Attorney’s office one summer in California.

Asked about their typical day, Kelley Hearne said she tends to spend a lot of time on the phone with clients discussing deals. Contracts, she says, are a headache and you look ahead to try to see what could go wrong so the customer is protected. Miller conducts surveys and discusses with customers what action to take. Her favorite days are at the start of investigations, where she tries to figure out what’s going on through interviews and reviewing documents. She also spends many days on the phone, but, for the most part, every day is different for her, and she feels she has a good mix of litigation and investigation in her job.

Hall said the Health Care Investigative Course and her classes with Professor Mimi Riley were extremely helpful in gaining access to a job involving health law. Marcus discussed his typical day, including working with a biotech company to answer questions about whether the client violated any law. She also worked with a vendor who had a data breach and helped them prepare a notice to patients affected by the breach. Additionally, she assists on a transactional level by helping companies legally invest in healthcare providers.

The lawyers finished with tips for getting into health law. Hearne reiterated the importance of knowing the regulatory regimes involved in any given project. She also believed that because many health care practices have a strong transactional bent, you will end up working on many transactions, even if you are often in litigation. Any experience where you can get a better idea of ​​how healthcare companies think and the issues they face, such as experience with a supplier or pharmaceutical company, will give you a head start when entering. in the labor market.

Miller has found valuable associates have experience with different healthcare agencies. This includes internships in the US Attorney’s office, the FDA or others. Not only do these people come back with specific knowledge, but they also tend to form interesting relationships, since those with experience know who to call when a pharmaceutical company needs help with a given problem. Having this experience gives you an edge over your peers. Miller also recommends practical experience for litigation in clinics.

After the questions were asked, the event proceeded to breakout rooms, at which point this reporter felt his job was done. I would like to thank all the lawyers for donating their valuable time, and the HLA for organizing the event. If you are interested in health law, consider contacting the HLA.

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