Health Law Careers

What are careers that involve law, health, & sciences?

In this incredibly dynamic time in both health care and health policy, there is no shortage of opportunities for attorneys in this field. In order to help you understand the many different intersections of law and health, and the related career paths, we have grouped the many different areas of health law into five categories.  In each category, we describe the substantive areas covered, the types of jobs most commonly (though not exclusively) held by attorneys in the field, and listed coursework at UC Hastings that provide knowledge and/or skills to prepare you for careers in that area.

This is merely a guide and we strongly recommend that you speak with a faculty member with expertise in your areas of interest. 
If you are exploring many different pathways and would like a more general overview, contact Jaime King or Sarah Hooper at the Consortium for guidance.

Law-Health

This area of health law involves the regulation of provider-patient and researcher-subject interactions in health care.  Attorneys in this area may be “in-house” legal counsel for healthcare systems or facilities, at law firms who serve as external counsel to healthcare systems or facilities, or plaintiffs’ attorneys representing individual patients in civil actions involving health care, such as medical malpractice, elder abuse, or guardianship/conservatorship.  Attorneys may also work in a wide array of government agencies that regulate patient care, such as the CA Department of Health Care Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or the Public Guardian.  Finally, many non-profit organizations working in this area employ attorneys for policy analysis, legislative advocacy, impact litigation, or all three.  Non-profits working in this area often focus on the healthcare of a specific sub-population, such as women, children or the elderly.  For more information about jobs in those areas, see “Health & Social Justice.”

 

Relevant courses:

Negotiations and Remedies

Patients, Providers & the Law (Schwartz)

Law & the Human Body (Rao)

Bioethics, Law & Health Care Decisions (Weithorn)

Family Law (Weithorn)

Compliance and Regulation for Lawyers (Short)

Health Law: Compliance & Ethics in Research (Hooper)

Public Health Advocacy: Vaccines (Reiss)

Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors (Troya)

Mediation (Terris)

Elder Law (Hooper)

Legal Externships: Ethics and Compliance at UCSF

Judicial Externship: SF Probate Court

Law-Policy

 

The healthcare industry is both heavily-regulated and constantly evolving, providing many opportunities for various stakeholders to analyze existing laws and  propose reform.  While the Affordable Care Act is the largest and most visible manifestation of health policy, health care and the practice of medicine are governed by a wide range of entities at all levels of government. Attorneys working in this area may   serve to educate various stakeholders as to the implications of current or proposed law for their respective interests.  Attorneys may be working for professional organizations such as the American Medical Association, in academic or nonprofit settings, or for government agencies.

 

Relevant courses:

US Health Care & Law (King)

Patients, Providers & the Law (Schwartz)

Administrative Law (Reiss)

Mental Health Law & Policy (Weithorn)

Business Associations (Dibadj, Ellias)

Tax Policy (Roberts)

Adv. Legislative Process (Salerno)

Statutory Interpretation & Bill Drafting (Salerno)

Legislative Clinic Fieldwork (Salerno)

Local Government Law Clinic (TBD)

(For policy issues around special populations, e.g. women’s health, see “Health & Social Justice”)

Externships: CA Department of Managed Health Care, CA Department of Insurance

Law-Business

Healthcare is a big and complex business in the United States.  Attorneys working in this field must be comfortable not only with many areas of business law, but with the unique regulatory environment in which healthcare providers, payors, and vendors operate.  Attorneys working in this field are most commonly at law firms that represent providers (health care systems, hospitals, physician groups), payors (insurance companies), or pharmaceutical or medical device companies that provide goods and services within the industry.  Some attorneys engage with this field from a regulatory perspective, working for government agencies that regulate the business of healthcare, such as the Department of Justice or state insurance departments.

 

Relevant courses:

US Health Care & Law (King)

Patients, Providers & the Law (Schwartz)

Administrative Law (Reiss)

Business Associations (Dibadj, Ellias)

Antitrust

Food & Drug Law (Cohen)

Tax Policy (Roberts)

Compliance & Risk Management for Attorneys

Compliance and Regulation for Lawyers (Short)

Health Law: Compliance & Ethics in Research (Hooper)

Mergers & Acquisitions (Wilson)

Negotiation (Fries, Gross, Gupta, Link)

Directed Study: Non-Profits (Roberts)

Externships: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, CA Attorney General’s Office- Health, Education & Welfare Section, UCSF Legal, DOJ Antitrust Division

Law-Tech

Advances in medical technology and health science provide extraordinary new opportunities to improve health and health care, while at the same time raising new challenges for regulators and  the legal system. Attorneys in this area often work at the intersection of science, health law, and intellectual property law to advise industry clients in design, development, testing, and marketing of new products. Attorneys are most likely to be at large firms or as in-house counsel for large companies. Some attorneys in this area may work for government agencies like the FDA, while others may work for public interest groups that advocate for consumer rights or address  policy issues that new technologies raise. While a scientific background is not necessary to practice in this area, attorneys working in this field will need to be comfortable engaging with science and scientists.

Relevant courses:

Science and the Law (Faigman L)

Startup Legal Garage: Biotech (Feldman, Armitage)

Food & Drug Law (Cohen)

Patents & Trade Secrets

Negotiation (Fries, Gross, Gupta, Link)

IP & Antitrust Seminar (Miller)

IP Licensing (Harrington)

Compliance & Regulation for Lawyers (Short)

Health Law: Compliance & Ethics in Research (Hooper)

Externship: UCSF Contracts & Grants

Law-SocialJustice

This area focuses on the ways that law interacts with an individual’s health, social status, or environment to affect his or her well-being. This area also focuses on the special rights and needs of certain vulnerable populations with respect to the health and well-being of the group as a whole. For instance, individuals with a certain health status may face unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, or education and require attorney assistance to advocate for their rights. Serious or chronic illness may also create economic hardship for certain individuals and their families, resulting in a need for legal advocacy around public benefits or private insurance that provide access to essential health care and supportive resources. As another example, certain vulnerable populations experience higher rates of morbidity (illness) and mortality as a result of social disadvantage, and law or policy may be a tool to improve health outcomes for those groups. Attorneys working in this area are most often representing or advising individuals in private practice or in legal aid organizations, engaging in policy advocacy within non-profit organizations, or enforcing regulations or civil rights through government agencies. Large law firms typically only engage in this area through pro bono programs, and not as a matter of day to day practice.

Courses applicable to all: Administrative Law (Reiss), International Human Rights (Roht-Arriaza), Class Action (Robertson), Race, Racism and American Law (Marshall)

 

Relevant courses by subareas:

Elder Law (Hooper)

Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors (Troya)

Disability Law (Kim/Swain)

Family Law (Weithorn)

Wills & Trusts (Zamperini)

Estate Planning Seminar

CA Community Property (Carillo)

Patients, Providers & the Law (Schwartz)

Federal Income Tax (Roberts)

Taxation of Family Wealth (Ellis)

Employment Discrimination (Moscato)

ERISA: Pension & Employee Benefits

US Health Care & Law (King)

Bioethics, Law & Health Care Decisions (Weithorn)

Negotiation & Mediation (Freshman)

Judicial Externship: SF Probate Court

Legal Externships: Justice in Aging, Consumers Union

Women’s Health & the Law (Dunn)

Family Law (Weithorn)

Gender & the Law

Employment Discrimination (Moscato)

Patients, Providers & the Law (Schwartz)

Bioethics, Law & Health Care Decisions (Weithorn)

Law & the Human Body (Rao)

Judicial Externship: SF Family Law Court

 

Gender & the Law

Sexuality & the Law

Research and Social Justice: A Case Study of LGBTQ Rights Organizations

Employment Discrimination (Moscato)

Family Law (Weithorn)

Public Health & Homelessness

Judicial Externship: SF Family Law Court

Family Law (Weithorn)

Bioethics, Law & Health Care Decisions (Weithorn)

Disability Law

Lawyering for Children

Judicial Externship: SF Family Law Court

Legal Externship: SF Medical-Legal Partnership (SFGH-Bay Legal)

Disability Law (Kim/Swain)

Mental Health Law & Policy (Weithorn)

Bioethics, Law & Health Care Decisions (Weithorn)

Civil Justice Clinic- Health Module (Silverstein)

Elder Law (Hooper)

Public Health & Homelessness

Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors (Troya)

Employment Discrimination (Moscato)

Judicial Externship: SF Probate Court

Food and Drug Law    (Cohen)

Public Health Advocacy: Vaccines (Reiss)

Admin Law (Reiss)

Public Law & Policy Workgroup

Public Health & Homelessness

Legal Externships:

CA Attorney General’s Office- Tobacco Litigation & Enforcement Section

CA Attorney General’s Office- Health, Education & Welfare Section

SF Department of Public Health

ChangeLab Solutions

SF City Attorney

Global Health & the Law (Dunn)

International Human Rights (Roht-Arriaza)

Refugee & Human Rights Clinic (Musalo)

Human Rights in Haiti (TBD)