YourABA: June 2013
YourABA June 2013 Masthead

Want to find a job in health law?
Then ‘never say no’

Students should implement a proactive approach and compile a résumé full of accomplishments that sets them apart from the crowd if they want to successfully pursue a career in health law, a panel of health law lawyers said.

The panelists, speaking during the American Bar Association Health Law Section podcast “How to Kick-Off a Successful Health Law Career,” emphasized the value of participating in a wide variety of activities related to health law, including taking diverse courses, working at internships or legal clinics, joining relevant organizations, attending educational conferences and writing articles for niche publications.

“In order to maximize your opportunities, especially early on, you can never say no,” said Jay McEniry, executive vice president and general counsel at MediStat Specialized Pharmacy Services in Foley, Ala. “It’s going eat up a lot of your personal time and professional time and eat up a little bit of money on the way.”

Geeta W. Kaveti, senior counsel at the Office of Counsel to the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services, in Washington, D.C., recommended students take a broad range of classes to determine what subject areas they are most passionate about and what their strengths are.

“I would encourage you to keep an open mind, and don’t pigeonhole yourself too early because you never know what is going to be interesting and out there for you to do,” she said.

And while it’s good to have a broad general knowledge of health law, McEniry said, “If you try to be good at everything, you are never going to be good at anything.”

Jennifer Rangel, a partner at Locke Lord LLP in Austin, Texas, suggested becoming an expert on a specific new health law. “That’s a good opportunity to be at the forefront and make a niche for yourself,” she said.

By completing internships and working at her college’s legal clinic, Kaveti said she gained a better understanding of health law in action.

“I cannot speak enough to the benefit of doing a clinical program,” she said. “The experience you will get working with clients — actually drafting motions, going to court, doing hearings — is invaluable and will help you see whether litigation is really something that you’re interested in and also help you learn what your own skill sets are.”

The panelists also stressed the importance of joining relevant organizations, such as the ABA’s Health Law Section, and attending as many meetings as possible to take advantage of educational opportunities and networking connections.

“You see what are the hot topics, what are people dealing with today, what are people thinking about, what are the issues [you] need to know about,” Rangel said of attending such conferences.

McEniry cited the example of the upcoming Physician Legal Issues Conference sponsored by the ABA Health Law Section as a great opportunity.

“That’s the best $75 you will ever spend if you can get yourself to Chicago,” he said.

The podcast was moderated by Anthony J. Burba, an associate at Arnold & Porter LLP in D.C., and sponsored by the ABA Health Law Section.

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