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January 30, 2023

Chair’s Column

Maximizing your HLS membership and your practice, plus an invitation to join me at the upcoming Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law Conference in San Diego

By Kathy Poppitt

My involvement in the Health Law Section (HLS) is without question the highlight of my professional career. I have participated in various organizations over my many years of practice, but none has been as rewarding in so many ways as my membership in the HLS. I wish the same for each of you.

Years ago, I moved from a nice local practice to a global firm that had expectations for involvement and client development that were different and new to me. I was tasked with becoming involved in the HLS. I looked at the website and identified an Interest Group (IG) that suited how I wished to build my practice, the Health Care Facilities and Operations (HCFO) IG. I wasn’t sure how to go forward but I cold-called the then-HCFO Chair, Alexandria McCombs, and told her I was interested in getting involved. As with everyone I have known in the HLS, she was welcoming and encouraging. She connected me with the group, explaining that I could write articles, present ideas for webinars, and, most importantly, attend the live conferences. I took her up on all of these suggestions and became an HCFO Vice-Chair, attended conferences, met people, joined other committees, and eventually was appointed to HLS leadership. I have never looked back.

With so many of us now used to working from home and being bombarded by client/firm/employer demands, it can be difficult to find a reason to pry ourselves out of our comfort zones and get involved in a group such as the HLS. However, through my involvement, I have learned so much, including how to be a leader, and made amazing connections. This is how you build a sustainable practice. I have good HLS friends whom I can ask sticky legal questions, request documents (de-identified of course) from, share life’s moments with, and truly enjoy seeing at the conferences. It doesn’t happen overnight, but with some time and diligence, the HLS can be one of your greatest professional resources. You just need to raise your hand, make that commitment, and follow through. The rewards are amazing. I thank all of you who have already made that leap and contributed so wonderfully to this group. The HLS is nothing without you. We greatly appreciate new faces, ideas, and voices, of all types.

Here are some ideas on how you might maximize your HLS membership:

  1. Join one, two, or three IGs, and get involved. The main work of the HLS is done through its 20 IGs. The IGs provide opportunities for participation by HLS members, creating a forum for interaction and networking in the area of shared interest. Participation in an IG is the best way to meet people, stay on top of the law, and get involved.
  2. Attend one or more of the in-person conferences. The HLS hosts three annual meetings: the flagship program Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law (EMI), The Physicians Legal Issues Conference, and the Washington Health Law Summit, which takes place in conjunction with the Managed Care Institute. We are so glad to be back in person and hope to see you all at one or more of these meetings. You will make friends and meet potential clients, as well as learn about cutting-edge health law. EMI is around the corner in San Diego in March, and I encourage you to register today. Let’s have coffee or a drink.
  3. Write a scholarly article for the Health Lawyer, an informative but less formal article for eSource, a book regarding the latest in health law, or a short news item for HLbytes.
  4. Listen to or be a part of the Voices in Health Law podcasts or a webinar.
  5. Link into our Diversity and Inclusion and Health & Well-Being initiatives. The HLS has been committed to Diversity and Inclusion for several years and has created a fellowship program that is soon to be rolled out. We also value and support the health of our members. (Applications are currently being accepted for the HLS Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Award, which will be awarded to up to five Young Lawyers who meet ABA Goal III Diversity criteria, are actively practicing health law, and interested in expanding their career development opportunities through networking within the Health Law Section. More information can be found here.)

Wherever you are in your life or your practice, there is a place for you in the HLS. There are so many fun, varied, and exciting ways to get involved. We appreciate and encourage all involvement and look forward to what you might bring to the group.

The Health Law Section is the voice of the national health law bar within the ABA. Its 8,500 strong members from across the United States represent clients in all segments of the healthcare industry, including physicians, hospitals and other institutional providers, teaching and research organizations, managed care organizations and other third-party payors, pharmaceutical companies, and device manufacturers. Contribute your time and voice.

Please know that the HLS leadership is here to facilitate your involvement in the Section and that you can call on us at any time. I look forward to working with and talking to each of you over the next bar year and look forward to any feedback or suggestions you have.

Kathy Poppitt

King & Spalding LLP, Austin, TX

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