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Health Law

Advising Contacts | Discover | Learn | Experience | Network | Suggested Path

Advising Contacts

Career Development Office Faculty
  • Eric Shannon (Assistant Director, Career Development Office)


Discover

Health law is an incredibly broad and diverse field. Health law is an industry-specific practice area that incorporates a number of “traditional” legal disciplines – such as contract law, tort law, criminal law, insurance law, and statutory drafting and interpretation, to name just a few – relevant to the health care industry. The health care industry itself is a massive (and growing) component of the American economy; according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, total domestic healthcare spending grew in 2016 to account for 17.9 percent of the nation’s total Gross Domestic Product.

Health law is also an ever-evolving field, impacted by developments in technology, increasing globalization of product and service delivery, and domestic legislative action including periodic amendments to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and, of course, passage of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Health law can be sub-divided into three broad, non-mutually exclusive practice areas: litigation, transactions, and regulatory. A litigator may, for example, initiate or defend against a class-action lawsuit related to the safety of a particular medical device. A transactional attorney may analyze the risk involved in acquiring a target company based on that company’s adherence to federally-mandated medical privacy practices. A regulatory attorney may help draft government regulations impacting drug advertising.

Health lawyers work in a broad and diverse range of professional settings. The need for attorneys with knowledge of the laws and regulations governing the healthcare industry is pervasive throughout the private and public sectors. Attorneys practicing health law may obtain positions:

  • In private practice at a small, medium-sized, or large law firm;
  • At an insurance company;
  • At a health care provider organization (e.g., a hospital or health maintenance organization);
  • At a nonprofit organization; or
  • At a government agency (federal, state, or local).

Further, some attorneys pursue (or transition into) non-practicing positions in such fields as health care compliance, health policy, or government/legislative affairs.


Learn

Successful health lawyers understand the fundamentals of the highly-regulated healthcare industry. Aspiring health lawyers must seek out courses that address the myriad, interconnected ways in which health care laws (including state and federal regulations) are created, interpreted, and enforced. The Health Law course – which examines the legal structure of health care delivery in the United States and how it affects the issue of access to quality health care – provides students with a critical introduction to the field. Because regulatory agencies create and enforce a large portion of the law governing the health care industry, Administrative Law is another vital foundational course.

Students should also, to the extent possible, take courses in key areas affecting the modern industry, including Antitrust Laws & Competition, Health Care Fraud, Consumer Protection, Medical Malpractice, and White Collar Crime, to name a few. A student’s desire to work in the litigation, transactional, or regulatory space will inform selection of advanced coursework, including writing and skill-based classes.

Foundation Courses
All are strongly recommended and should be taken early in the upper-level years.
Advanced Courses
Advanced coursework that will build your substantive knowledge in this pathway.
Writing Courses
Coursework to hone your writing skills and develop a portfolio of practicing writing in your field.
Skills Courses
Courses that will develop your oral advocacy, ADR, and other skills necessary for practice.
  • Administrative Law
  • Health Law
  • Antitrust Laws & Competition
  • Bioethics
  • Complex Litigation
  • Consumer Protection
  • Health Care Fraud
  • Insurance Law
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Public Health Law
  • White Collar Crime
  • Drafting: Contracts
  • Drafting: Federal Civil Practice
  • Drafting: Litigation Documents & Contracts
  • Drafting: New York Civil Practice
  • Advanced Interviewing and Counseling
  • Deposition Practice
  • Negotiation (Intensive)
  • Trial Advocacy

Course Descriptions


Experience

Externships
Externships place students in a wide variety of not-for-profit, government, public interest, and private organizations and firms, where they work directly under the supervision of a practicing attorney. The external placements are bolstered by an in-school seminar in which students analyze their practical experiences and gain skills necessary for the profession. Sample placements in this pathway include:
  • Community Service Society – Community Health Advocates
  • Henry Schein, Inc.
  • Heritage Health and Housing Inc.
  • Legal Aid Society: Health Law Unit
  • Medicare Rights Center
  • Mental Hygiene Legal Service – New York Unified Court System
  • Mercy Haven, Inc. – Mercy Advocacy Program
  • Nassau University Medical Center
  • New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation


Network

Students should seek out connections with practitioners and other students, both internally and externally. Adjunct professors can be an excellent resource both for guidance and for employment opportunities. The professional bar associations also welcome student participation and offer reduced membership rates for students. Some bar sections and committees look for students to provide research or other assistance on projects. St. John’s faculty are also an essential resource. Students should make an effort to get to know faculty who teach and have experience in their chosen areas. Finally, students should connect with other students who share similar interest through student organizations and attendance at Law School events.

Professional Organizations


Student Organizations

  • Health Care Law Society


Suggested Path

Part-time students should spread out the suggested path below to account for their expected date of graduation.

Year Fall Spring Summer
1L
  • Required courses
  • Pro bono
  • Required courses
  • Pro bono
  • Internship
2L
  • Health Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Electives
  • Continue pro bono work
  • APWR course
  • Electives / Core elective
  • Externship or Applied Skills course
  • Continue pro bono work
  • Summer associate position with a law firm or summer internship with a government agency
3L
  • Electives / Core elective
  • Complete SWR paper on health law topic
  • Continue pro bono work
  • Electives / Core elective
  • Externship or Applied Skills course
  • Continue pro bono work
  • Graduation
  • Bar Exam

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