Concentration in Law and Health Sciences

The Law & Health Sciences Concentration provides students with an opportunity to pursue a focused and integrated course of study on issues at the intersection of law, medicine and science. As the debate over healthcare reform continues, as new medical technologies raise a host of ethical challenges, and as scientific evidence becomes increasingly pervasive in our courtrooms, the need for lawyers trained with an understanding of both our health care system and scientific methods is greater than ever. Concentrating in Law & Health Sciences at Hastings offers students a fundamental understanding of the U.S. health care system and basic scientific principles that are necessary for work in this area.


Students who are interested in the Concentration should meet with a Concentration Advisor as early in their academic career as possible.  Ideally, a student consults with the Concentration Advisor in the spring of their first year at Hastings regarding selection of courses for the fall 2L semester.  Students who elect the Concentration after that time should meet with the Concentration Advisor as soon thereafter as possible to develop a curricular plan for their second and third years consistent with their educational and career goals.  The advisor can help students balance their plan for specialization with their more general academic goals, such as inclusion of bar courses and satisfaction of UC Hastings requirements.


Concentrators must satisfy 22 units of coursework related to law and health sciences, as detailed below.
(NOTE: 22 units applies to those in the Class of 2017 and beyond.  If enrolled in the concentration prior, the requirement is 21 units)

  • Concentration Seminar in Law and Health Sciences (2 units):  Students in the seminar will prepare a scholarly research paper which satisfies the Hastings writing requirement and the Law & Health Sciences Concentration writing requirement.  Students should complete this course in their third year as a capstone.
  • Core Courses (minimum 8 units):  Students must take at least two of the following for a grade.  Students who opt to take all three core courses may elect to take the third Pass/Fail:
    • Health Care Providers, Patients, and the Law (4 units)
    • U.S. Healthcare System & the Law (4 units)
    • Science in Law (4 units)
  • Bioethics Requirement (minimum 1 unit, which can be filled by a class qualifying for another requirement): Students can satisfy this requirement in a number of ways, including through the Health Care Providers, Patients, and the Law (formerly Health Law I) course, electives, an independent study with a faculty member, writing a journal note, or a seminar paper on a bioethics topic. (If a course does not have “bioethics” in its title, the student must check with the Concentration Advisor to learn of the proposed unit or course meets the requirement.)
  • Electives (12 units): The elective credits must be chosen in consultation with the Concentration Advisor so as to ensure best fit with student learning and career goals.  These requirements can be satisfied by electives from the class lists below, or from courses taken at UCSF (if approved by the Concentration Advisor).  Students selecting the “Tracked Approach” may be able to depart from the course lists below if the Individualized Concentration Plan (ICP) developed with the Concentration Advisor identifies alternative courses.  Students selecting the “Generalist Approach” must select at least 9 of the units from courses, clinics, or seminars listed in Section B.I.   If students take a third Core course (4 units), that course satisfies 4 of the units from Section B.I.  Students can complete concentration requirements by taking 3 units from offerings in Sections B.I or B.II.

All courses taken to satisfy core Law & Health Sciences Concentration requirements must be taken for a letter grade with one exception.  Concentrators may take one elective class Credit/No Credit.  Students cannot take a Core course Credit/No Credit unless they take all three core courses, in which case the third Core course will be treated as an elective and may be selected as the one course to be taken Credit/No Credit.

New courses are sometimes added to the curriculum subsequent to publication of the catalog.  Students are advised to check with the Concentration Advisor regarding the eligibility courses not listed below to determine if those courses satisfy concentration requirements.

Advisor: Professor Jaime King


All Law and Health Sciences Concentrators must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Law and Health Sciences Concentration Seminar (2) (This seminar is offered to concentrators in their third year. Successful completion of the paper satisfies the Hastings writing requirement.)

At least two of the following three courses:

  • Health Care Providers, Patients, and the Law (formerly Health Law I) (4)
  • U.S. Healthcare System & the Law (formerly Health Law II) (4)
  • Science in Law (4)

All concentrators are encouraged to meet with Professor King at the end of their first year prior to registration for the fall 2L semester or, at the latest, at the beginning of their second year, to discuss course and externship selection during the 2L and 3L years.

Because different potential health law careers require different skill sets and knowledge bases, concentrators who choose a particular substantive focus within Law & Health Sciences can work with their advisors to design a curriculum that best fits their career goals.  Potential health law tracks include:

  • Law, Medicine, and Ethics
  • Health Policy and Reform
  • Healthcare Business and Regulation
  • Health Sciences and Technology
  • Health and Social Justice

To learn more about the kinds of courses offered at UC Hastings in each track, please visit the UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science, and Health Policy webpage on Careers in Health Law.  Students who adopt the Tracked Approach will develop an Individualized Concentration Plan (ICP) with the Concentration Advisor, detailing precisely how the students will satisfy the 22 unit requirement.  That individualized concentration curriculum can be modified throughout their time at UC Hastings as their career goals evolve, although all changes must be approved by the Concentration Advisor.

The specific requirements of each student’s ICP must be documented in an email between the student and the Concentration Advisor.  Modifications of the ICP made with the approval of the Concentration Advisor must be documented in an email listing the revised requirements.

Concentrators who choose the Generalist Approach to Health Law can satisfy concentration requirements in the following manner:

Qualifying Health and Science Courses, Seminars, and Clinics and Related Electives (9 units)

Health and Science Electives: Students must take a minimum of nine (9) units from this list of courses, seminars or clinics [Students may use up to 6 credit hours of UCSF classes (which convert to 4 Hastings units) toward this requirement with the approval of the Concentration Advisor]:


Administrative Law (3)

Compliance and Regulation for Lawyers (3)

Elder Law (3)

Disability Law (3)

Food and Drug Law (3)

Transactional Health Law Practicum (2)

Mental Health Law & Policy (3)

Modern Bioethics (3 or 4)

ERISA: A Labor Law Perspective (2)

Insurance Law (2 or 3)




Bioethics, Law & Healthcare Decisionmaking Seminar (2 or 3)

Forensic Evidence Seminar (2)

Law and Biosciences (LAB Project Seminar) (3)

Public Health Advocacy: Vaccines

Food Justice

Law and the Human Body Seminar (2)

Public Health & Homelessness Seminar (2)

Social, Legal & Ethical Implications of Human

Reproductive & Genetic Tech. Seminar (2)

Women’s Health & the Law (2)

Health Law: Compliance & Ethics in Research (1)

Health Care System Reform: Regulation and Competition (2)




  • Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors (6) (students may apply up to 4 units toward the concentration requirements)
  • Civil Justice Individual Representation Clinic—Health Law Module (students may apply up to 4 units toward concentration requirements)
  • Law & Health Sciences related externship (student must be registered to receive academic credit for this externship under the Hastings Legal Externship Program and the externship must be approved by the Concentration Advisor as sufficiently related to Law & Health Sciences) (students may apply up to 2 units toward concentration requirements)
Independent Study:

If the subject matter is approved by the Concentration Advisor as sufficiently related to Law & Health Sciences, students may apply up to 2 units of an Independent Study toward the Concentration requirements.



Science and Health Related Electives: Students may apply no more than three (3) units from this list toward the concentration requirements

Advanced Legislative Process

Business Associations


Children & the Law (2 or 3)

Domestic Violence Law (3) (1st yr. elective OR upper level)

Education Law (3)

Employment Discrimination (1st yr. elective OR

Employment Law Seminar (3) (OR other employment law offering approved by concentration advisor)

Family Law (3 or 4)

Gender and the Law (3)

Law and Economics (3)

Public Law & Policy Workgroup

Mediation or Negotiation (up to 3 units of any Hastings Mediation or Negotiation course)

Problem Solving and Professional Judgment (3)

Public Policy Advocacy Seminar (2)

Race, Racism & American Law (3)

Refugee Law & Policy (3)

Sexuality and the Law (2)

Tax Policy


Concentration Advisor:
Professor Jaime King
(415) 581-8834 | 

Concentrated Studies Declaration Form

FAQ's: UC Hastings Concentration in Law & Health Sciences

  • High demand for health lawyers
    • “Health care is another in-demand legal field. Over half of the fastest growing occupations are in health care, so it’s no surprise that health lawyers are in demand, in settings from government agencies to hospitals and law firms. The work covers everything from elder care and embryonic stem cell research to Medicare fraud and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.” ~ Courtney Rubin, US News, March 2014
    • “[Health Law] is piping hot right now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act… Institutions are hiring attorneys not only for their traditional legal offices but for compliance issues, risk management, contracts and procurement” ~National Jurist, Sept./ Oct. 2014 Vol.24, No.1
  • Diversity of opportunity
    • The law intersects with health and science in a staggering number of ways: health science is often the subject of law; law is often the subject of empirical research and analysis; and, scientific data often provides the basis for legal and policy change.

See ‘What job opportunities exist in health law?’ section below for descriptions of practice areas

  • Declaring the Concentration in Law & Health Sciences is a great resume booster – it demonstrates a knowledge of the variety of laws related to health, which will open the door to many different employers
  • You will have the opportunity to take up to 6 credits of coursework at UCSF
  • Health Law Concentrators have the opportunity to participate in research and service opportunities that arise from networking in the Consortium's broader community of scholars. Faculty members at UC Hastings and UCSF are engaged in a wide range of research projects and are eager to involve concentrators.
  • Yes, the Concentration in Law & Health Sciences allows students to choose from a wide variety of courses in the Hastings Catalog, and to work with a Concentration advisor to choose coursework that meets students’ goals and interests.
  • The curriculum includes four required courses: US Healthcare System and the Law, Healthcare Providers, Patients and the Law, Science in Law, and Health Sciences Concentration Seminar. Beyond these four required courses students may select electives from a list of approved courses and clinics to fulfill the requirements for the Concentration in Law & Health Sciences.
  • There is no penalty for failing to meet the Concentration in Law & Health Sciences requirements by graduation time. The Concentration will simply not appear on your transcript.
  • No. The three core courses are designed to provide a solid foundation for those who are new to health law and science.
  • It’s easy. First, meet with a Concentration advisor – either Professor Jaime King or Sarah Hooper. They will talk to you about what the Concentration in Law & Health Sciences has to offer and answer any questions you may have. You will then be given a declaration form (listed as 'Concentrated Studies Application') which both you and the advisor will sign. Submit this form to the Records office (200 Building, 2nd Floor, Room 211), and that’s it – you’re done!

Below are a few ways to think about how these fascinating topics translate into career opportunities for attorneys.

Competition in the health field is controversial.  Antitrust issues often arise in connection with medical staff privileging decisions, health trade association activities, and joint ventures and acquisitions.  The result is a plenitude of opportunities for health law attorneys to deal with antitrust issues, from both the prosecutorial and defense perspectives, or simply in terms of client counseling.

The entire health delivery system, particularly where third-party reimbursement is concerned, is premised on a series of contracts, generally with government agencies, insurers, physicians, and institutional providers of care and suppliers of services. Contract law is thus directly or indirectly involved in most health care practices.

Corporate law issues arise during the establishment of hospitals and also in acquisitions, joint ventures, financing, during facility construction or expansion, and in dissolutions. Related issues include state and federal health planning requirements, licensure obligations, and a myriad of other business concerns.

Medical malpractice can involve both civil and criminal law.  One criminal law area involves Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse, which encompasses administrative law, corporate law, and contract questions, in addition to criminal law.  Attorneys with expertise in this area may assist in structuring contracts so as to avoid fraud and abuse problems, and may also represent clients who are under investigation by the government.

There is a growing need for attorneys who understand the health and legal needs of older adults.  Older Americans are at the core of debates about health care delivery and cost, and will continue to be essential to healthcare policy as baby boomers age.  The most influential players in health policy will need deep familiarity with this population.  Elder law practice encompasses everything from healthcare to housing and includes advance directives, guardianships, long-term care, income maintenance, property management, healthcare funding, and elder abuse and neglect.

In the rapidly growing area of health law, the most exciting and controversial issues arise in the realm of heath policy and bioethics. Bioethics and health policy cover a wide variety of topics, including stem cell research, the human genome project, and reproductive rights.  Individuals who study bioethics and health policy may find themselves researching and writing legislative initiatives concerning the legal and ethical applications of pharmaceutical breakthroughs, emerging medical technology, and various healthcare plans.  In addition, these individuals may find employment with bioethics groups and ethics committees, which are consulted by hospitals when making difficult decisions, including decisions involving resource allocation.

Attorneys involved in global health law can work with international institutions such as the World Health Organization or USAID to address issues such as health workforce shortages, global health disparities, and healthcare delivery in developing countries.

The delivery of health care is extremely labor intensive.  As a result, health law attorneys can also find themselves working in the realm of labor law.  Common labor law issues that arise in the healthcare context include unionization of health care workers, equal employment opportunities, and occupational health and safety.

Legal aid organizations, established and funded by federal, state, and local governments, exist to provide free legal assistance to low-income individuals.  Increasingly, facilitating access to health care through public benefits programs such as Medicaid is a large component of the work of legal aid organizations.  A growing number of legal aid organizations are now partnering with health care providers such as hospitals, community clinics, and medical schools to provide legal assistance to the most vulnerable patients in order to promote well-being and improve health outcomes.

Many attorneys in health law practice are involved in litigation. Some specialize in administrative litigation before divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Labor Relations Board, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, and related government agencies. Other attorneys concentrate on litigation before state and federal judicial bodies. A litigation practice can cover all the areas listed above, or be limited to specialized issues, such as medical malpractice.

Regulations currently cover virtually every aspect of the health care delivery system. For providers of health services, regulations dictate their organization (health planning, certificates of need), their certification (Medicare, Medicaid), and their funding (Medicare, Medicaid, and other third-party payers).  For consumers of health services, regulations determine their eligibility for third-party reimbursement, and they dictate a baseline for the quality of services.  Medical societies and their individual members are governed by state and federal licensure requirements and by rate-setting provisions. The list of agencies and organizations that regulate healthcare delivery is extensive and spans local, state, and federal levels.

Research provides invaluable information and insight into how society can advance the health and well-being of all its members.  Prior to the regulation of research methods by federal and state governments, it was not uncommon for research methods to involve human rights violations, such as those in Tuskegee.  Now, research is regulated by federal and state governments, and many categories of research are the subjects of intense ethical scrutiny.  Attorneys often play a large role in advising institutions and researchers on the regulations applicable to their particular area of research.

Tax issues arise when attorneys structure corporate acquisitions, mergers and consolidations, reorganizations, or joint ventures for healthcare entities. Tax exemption is particularly relevant to health care delivery, as many health care organizations seek to achieve and maintain tax-exempt status.


Attorneys can also play a role in translating the fruits of science into meaningful law and policy, through legislative advocacy or strategic litigation.  This is an area that is gaining increased attention.  In addition, attorneys can work with researchers and providers to find real world applications for new scientific discoveries and insights.

*This list was adapted from materials provided by the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  We gratefully acknowledge their contribution to these materials.