As evidenced by the current transformation of the U.S. health care landscape, health law and policy is a rapidly evolving and extremely complex field of study. The health care industry makes up nearly 20% of the U.S. economy and includes hospital systems, public and private insurers, pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, and the individual practitioners who treat patients. Each of these actors operates within highly regulated spheres that often overlap with other fields of law, such as administrative, intellectual property, tort, and tax law. Moreover, health law extends beyond the health care system to encompass other areas of law that influence population health. Health law can also be examined through the lenses of international and comparative law.
Students who are interested in pursuing a health law career should first build a strong foundation. The four foundational health law courses are intended to provide students with the basic knowledge and skills that will be needed in almost any health law career. Students can then choose among the many key electives, health-related, and experiential courses to design a curriculum tailored to their particular interests. Students who are interested in administrative law and regulatory work, for example, could take Health Care Fraud and Abuse and Privacy and Health Information Technology. Students interested in tort law and civil litigation could take Medical Liability and Drug Product Liability. And students interested in science and intellectual property could take Pharmaceuticals and the Law and Patent Law.
Faculty members in the Health Law & Justice Program are happy to counsel students regarding course selection and career development. Students may also find it helpful to join external groups, such as the American Health Lawyers Association and the ABA’s Health Law Section, both of which have numerous resources designed to help guide students to successful health law careers.