Becoming a Health Care Lawyer

Health Care LawyerHealthcare Law is by far the fastest growing law practice areas in the country today, and this has been proven by the latest survey many people know as the Robert Half Legal Hiring Index. The survey was conducted by Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing firm and the foremost provider of excellent and skillful legal professionals for various law firms and corporate legal departments. One of the notable findings in the survey was that healthcare law was projected to encounter the most growth in the last quarter of 2012. General business or commercial law comes second,  while Bankruptcy/Foreclosure follows at the third spot.

Healthcare law is among the highly regarded practice areas of law. First, this practice can interact with other practices of law such as real estate, mergers and acquisitions, business, employment and social justice. The prerequisites for a successful career in healthcare law are as follows:

  1. A law degree
  2. A bar membership in at least one jurisdiction in the US
  3. 2 years of law practice
  4. 5 to 7 years in healthcare law practice
  5. 5 years working at a law firm
  6. Solid research and analytical skills
  7. Exceptional ability to work both with lawyers and non-lawyers within and outside counsel
  8. Joint degree in law and medicine (although not in all cases, but may provide for higher pay and quick promotions)

The Best Universities for Health Care Law

Having mentioned these, where then should one bachelor’s degree holder proceed to move towards a law degree specializing in healthcare law? Here are the 2012 top five best law colleges or universities to go to in healthcare law according to U.S. News and World Report.

1.      Center for Health Law Studies

St Louis University School of Law (SLU Law)

St. Louis, Missouri

The health law program of the St. Louis University School of Law was first established in 1982. For the past 8 years, it has been placed first among health law programs in the United States. The Center for Health Law Studies has three academic programs:

  • Concentration in Health Law, which requires 10 credit hours of health law courses, a publishable health law research paper, attendance and written analysis of five distinguished speakers, and practical health law experience;
  • Dual Degree Programs, for which students are required to complete two semesters at the School of Law before beginning the program. A student can proceed with a dual degree such as Juris Doctor/Master of Health Administration (J.D./M.H.A.), Juris Doctor/Master in Public Health in Health Policy (J.D./M.P.H.-Health Policy), and Juris Doctor/Master in Public Health (J.D./M.P.H.).
  • LL.M. In Health Law, for which students are required to complete 24 credit hours that include a high quality and publishable master’s thesis, undergo up to 6 credit hours of monitored research and another 6 credit hours outside of the law school provided that the discipline undergone is approved by the school, and a full-time program participation within a year or a part-time program participation within two years.

2.      Center for Law, Health and Society

Georgia State University College of Law

Atlanta, Georgia

The Center was established in 2004 and takes pride in molding future health care lawyers through research, educational and community outreach initiatives. The basic requirements for a certificate in their health law program are as follows:

  • six courses of program-related study that include Law, Medicine and Bioethics; Regulation of Health Care Business; Health and Social Justice, Health Sciences and Technology, Public Health and the Environment; and International Health and Human Rights.
  • a writing project in which you must earn a minimum grade of 3.0
  • approved extracurricular activities by the

-Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility,

-Center for Law, Health, and Society

-Student Health Law Association

-for Continuing Legal Education credit in the State Bar of Georgia in the area of Health Law

-community for events that promote health

3.      Law and Health Care Program

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Baltimore, Maryland

The program was first established in 1997, and for students to obtain a Health Law Certificate, they must have at least 6 credits of courses and seminars, at least 3 but no more than 6 credits of Health Law Externships and/or Health Law Clinic credits, and a publishable research and writing paper. In short, a total of 17 credits must be earned at a minimum by a student through classroom training, experiential training, as well as research and writing.

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