ATLANTA - Regardless of their career aspirations, many law students participate in moot court and mock trial competitions as ways to gain practical litigation experience during law school. For students interested in health law, a new type of competition was created this year that provides them with an opportunity to apply their health law course knowledge to real-world situations.
The University of Maryland School of Law’s Student Health Law Organization hosted the inaugural Health Law Regulatory and Compliance Competition (HLRCC) on March 28. The Georgia State University College of Law team was one of twelve competing from across the country. “It was great to meet health law students from other schools and talk to them about their health law courses and employment opportunities,” said Danny Vincent, 3L, one of the three GSU team members.
With health care being one of the most heavily regulated industries, health care attorneys must have an understanding of the statutes and regulations their clients are subject to and how these laws impact business decisions. “I had taken numerous health law courses and wanted the opportunity to test my knowledge by applying it to a real-life situation,” said Jennifer Whitton, 3L, another GSU team member.
The HLRCC provided just that opportunity. Similar to other law school competitions, the HLRCC problem consisted of a hypothetical fact pattern filled with compliance issues. The teams represented either a government regulatory agency or the hospital client. Unlike other law school competitions, which often release the problem at least a month prior to the competition, the HLRCC problem was released at the competition, so no preparation was allowed.
The teams had just over one hour to review the problem, identify potential compliance issues, record and analyze these issues in a legal memo, and prepare for an oral presentation. “Even though the time constraints were tighter than on an in-class exam, we were able to pool our knowledge and complete the task,” stated Megan Daugherty, 3L, the third GSU team member.
After each team privately presented to a panel of judges, the top two teams, American University and St. Louis University, were selected to publicly present their findings in front of the entire judging panel and the other teams. “It was nerve-wracking wondering how our analysis and presentation compared to the other teams,” said Vincent. “Once we watched the winning presentation, it was reassuring to see that we identified most of the same issues.”
Based on the positive feedback and successful outcome of this inaugural competition, the University of Maryland intends to host a similar event next year. “I recommend that any student interested in health care regulatory or compliance work participate in this competition,” added Whitton. “It provides an excellent opportunity to understand the field and to know what health law attorneys and health care entities are looking for in new hires.”
Stacie P. Kershner, JD
Associate Director, Center for Law, Health & Society