Preparing for Health Law Practice

The University of Illinois College of Law’s Epstein Health Law and Policy Program actively promotes the exposure of College of Law students to the intricacies of health law and bioethics law as practiced. The Epstein Program provides tangible support for students exploring health law, bioethics, and public health as a career through numerous methods, including our new mentoring program connecting aspiring health lawyers with established health lawyers, the Loyola Transactional Moot Court Team, and conversations with members of the practicing bar, such as Epstein Advisory Board Member Kurt Leifheit, Associate General Counsel at The Carle Foundation.

This emphasis on practice, policy, and scholarship draws its roots from the Program’s founding benefactor, J.D. Epstein.


I met Professor Wilson in the Fall of my 1L year and offered to help with any upcoming Epstein initiatives. She immediately found an opportunity for me to support the upcoming Medicalization of Poverty Symposium, where she introduced me to a number of impressive scholars—including Nobel Laureate Dr. James Heckman and Virginia Commissioner of Health Dr. Marissa Levine. These weren’t just quick meet-and-greets either—we sat and had real conversations. I’m extremely grateful for those experiences.
— Landon Webster, J.D. Candidate, Class of 2020

Joint Medical School and Law School Classes

 
 

In Spring 2019, the College of Law launched joint medical school and law school classes. These classes mark the beginning of an exciting relationship between the College of Law and the new College of Medicine. This new venture draws on resources and faculty at both colleges to foster discussions at the intersection of law and medical ethics, with a particular focus on children’s rights and biomedical ethics. Law school students enrolled in the courses Children’s Health & Violence and Health Law & Bioethics engage in tough but riveting conversations with medical school students on some of the thorniest questions facing medicine and society today:

  • When is Care Futile? (Friday, Mar. 29, 2019)

  • When is Asking a Medical Professional to Perform a Service a Bridge Too Far? (Friday, Apr. 19, 2019)

The joint exploration will help law students gain an understanding of the factual considerations that other professionals consider when confronting new, uncharted territory. The joint classes are designed to teach students how to engage other professionals when resolving difficult ethical and legal questions. Similarly, the perspectives our law students bring to these questions helps medical students widen their lenses regarding the ethics of novel practices, like the troubling standardized pelvic exams performed for teaching purposes on unconscious women admitted for surgery, without the women’s knowledge or consent.

These classes begin with vignettes drawn from real life ethical and legal concerns.


Hands-On Experience

The College of Law offers a number of courses that prepare students to enter the field of Health Law. An emphasis in Health Law while pursuing a legal education may be of special interest to students who are interested in: 1) the general practice of law, 2) a specialized practice in personal injury litigation, including injuries caused by medical devices or as a result of medical malpractice, or 3) policy issues involving public health. There are various other legal practices that can have an emphasis in health law including, but not limited to, Torts, Contract Law, Insurance, and Elder Law. See a complete list of course offerings.

University of Illinois College of Law students can engage in many experiential learning activities to prepare for a career in Health Law. If a student is interested in Health Law litigation, which may include medical malpractice or product liability litigation, the following experiential learning activities are available to foster a student’s litigation skills:

  • Trial Advocacy

  • Advanced Trial Advocacy

  • Trial Team

  • Advanced Appellate Advocacy & Moot Court Team

Health law practice includes drafting contracts, and writing motions or memoranda in connection with a medical malpractice litigation suit. Students can gain legal writing and research skills, that are essential to the above-mentioned healthcare practices, by participating in the College of Law’s student-edited journals:

  • Elder Law Journal

  • Illinois Law Review

  • Journal of Law, Technology, and Policy

Lastly, before joining a healthcare practice, future employers look favorably upon students who have practical experiences that can be translated to real-life practice. The following programs at the College of Law enable students to engage in healthcare-related fields: 

  • The Chicago Program

  • The Corporate Counsel Practicum

  • The Externship Program, which has included placements at:

    • The Legal Council for Health Justice;

    • The Department of Health and Human Services; and

    • The Presidential Management Fellows Program

2016 Loyola Transactional Moot Court Team members Amanda Ray, Sara Ahmed, and Daniel Walbright

2016 Loyola Transactional Moot Court Team members Amanda Ray, Sara Ahmed, and Daniel Walbright