BYU Law’s Health Law Association hosted a health law panel discussion on Tuesday, August 30, 2016, to detail what a career in health law looks like. Panel members consisted of four health law experts: Greg Matis, Intermountain Healthcare; Curtis Newman, University of Utah; Mike Miller, Strong and Hanni; and Carrie Taylor, BYU Law.
The panel members recounted their various experiences working in health law to give students a concept of the profession. Taylor described her work as being completely different each day. “One day I’d be in a diaper factory, the next in an underground medical lab, and another in a coal mine,” she said. Newman talked about the diversity of cases in health law by sharing some of the cases he has worked on, from patients entering clinics with weapons to patients being dissatisfied with plastic surgery.
Miller, who works in medical malpractice defense, explained what trial preparation consists of for him. “Every hour that you spend in court or at trial might require 20 to 30 hours spent getting ready for the case,” he said. Newmann expressed his appreciation for flexible work hours, informing students that he has at times telecommuted to work from Finland and Russia.
The panel also gave advice to current law students about preparing for a career in health law. All panel members agreed that law graduates do not necessarily need a background in health care to work in health law. According to Matis, “It’s great to have that healthcare background or experience, but it’s not necessary.” Miller also expressed that the most important skill to develop as a lawyer is problem-solving. He advised students to develop the advocacy skills to solve problems, including analyzing and writing, by their second and third years.
For students who are still unsure if they should practice health law in the future, Matis offered advice. “If you like complexity, and you are good at it, health care law may be for you,” he said.