10 Tips for Practicing in Health Law

By Michella Hand

10 Tips for Practicing in Health Law

2.24.2022

By Michella Hand

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In February 2022, the Health Law Section participated in a law student roundtable discussion that provided current law students with a better understanding on the experiences, rewards, and challenges practicing attorneys have faced in Health Law while offering insight on the various career opportunities available.

From this discussion the panelists, Ari J. Markenson, Esq. (Venable LLP), Jeffrey J. Sherrin, Esq. (O’Connell & Aronowitz), Lillian Mosley, Esq. (N.Y.S. Unified Court System), Karen L. I. Gallinari, Esq. (Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Pace University), and Anoush Koroghlian-Scott, Esq. (Lippes Mathias, LLP and Chair of the Health Law Section), compiled 10 tips for law students who are pursuing a career of practicing in Health Law:

  1. Intern with a private or not-for-profit firm that offers hands on experiences in health law. This type of hands-on experience is crucial to understanding various sectors of the health law field. (i.e., calling insurance plans, negotiating medical debt with private physicians/hospitals, interviewing clients)
  2. Join the NYSBA, Health Law Section and attend any free events offered. Being in the same (virtual) room with likeminded professionals will help with your success in the health law field. This networking will develop professional relationships and may even lead to a job.
  3. Get a Mentor. There are wonderful programs through the Health Law Section Mentorship Program, law school alumni organizations, local bar associations, and the American Health Lawyers Association.
  4. Sign up for every free e-mail list you can get on from the NYSDOH, US DHHS, OIG, CMS, etc. and if you have access to it subscribe to paid services like Bloomberg Health Law, Law360 Health, etc. Your email box may be inundated each morning, but if you are able to sift through it, it’s a great way to get acquainted with the issues of the day.
  5. Recognize that the opportunities to work in the health law field are vast. They include small private law firms, large law firms, in-house counsel positions, federal government agencies, state government agencies, non-profit agencies, payers, federal and state law enforcement.  And the areas available to work in are even broader, covering virtually every area of law there is, just as applied to an actor in the health industry. Investigate and don’t be afraid to experiment or try different things out; different roles provide different perspectives, broader understanding of the industry, and allow you to become a better advocate for your client(s).
  6. Ask questions. Ask more questions.  Then don’t be afraid to ask even more.  None of us knows everything in health law (and it is always changing), but we are almost universally willing to help and share information and thoughts.
  7. Be sure to listen to your clients and others you work with to understand the context of the issues that come before you and the operational challenges your clients may face and provide legal advice and counsel that makes sense and is practical.
  8. Learn the health care reimbursement systems; they drive the health care delivery systems.
  9. Once you identify an area of health law that intrigues you, commit to writing an article or giving a presentation; there is no better way to really learn a topic than to explain it to or teach others.
  10. Remember that as a health lawyer your role is to be a resource and serve the actors in the health law industry to help them navigate in their business environment.

For more information and resources for law students, please visit nysba.org/lawstudent

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