Derek Empie, Associate General Counsel at Indiana University Health, Inc. (IU Health) and a 2002 College of Law graduate, was recently honored to be selected to be on Indianapolis Business Journal’s 2012 Forty Under 40 list. This former sports broadcast professional is now in-house counsel for Indiana’s largest health care system.
Empie serves as lead attorney to several hospitals and a multi-specialty physician group comprised of over 800 providers, advising the organization on physician and managed care contracts, regulatory compliance, employment law and corporate legal matters. He was also appointed to serve as General Counsel to the newly created Accountable Care Organization (ACO) which IU Health formed in response to the Affordable Care Act.
Before law school, Empie, who was a starting baseball pitcher in college, wanted to be in sports broadcasting, but once there he found the hours long, the starting pay low, and the travel hard. With the support of his wife Amber, he enrolled in law school.
When asked to share advice with students interested in health law, Empie reflected, "While in law school, I reached out to attorneys in various fields with several firms about what path to take and what things I needed to do and be involved in to become a successful attorney. What I found is that everyone has a different story and there is no one formula for achieving success in the legal field. Probably the best advice I received was to get involved in areas that I like and have an interest in and everything else will fall into place."
Empie did just that and landed a summer associate clerkship at Troutman Sanders LLP which led to a job after graduation. After moving to Indianapolis, he practiced transactional law at Baker & Daniels LLP (now Faegre Baker Daniels LLP) for over four years. In his partnership year, IU Health, a client, asked him to consider moving in-house. Although it was a difficult decision to leave the firm, Empie ultimately agreed. "I decided that the experience and knowledge I could gain by working in-house for a major health system would be invaluable for my growth as a health care attorney," he said. "The complex corporate matters I worked on at large law firms were instrumental in positioning me to succeed in my in-house position."
Empie enjoys his role as attorney and appreciates that IU Health is supportive of collaboration. "I am brought into a project at the very beginning," he said. "My involvement in every stage of an assignment, working alongside business leaders and providers in our organization has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the daily operations of a health care system."
"I feel fortunate to work with many great, dedicated and intelligent people who come to work every day trying to make a difference in the health and lives of the people in our community," he said. He has found his formula for success.
Stacie P. Kershner, JD
Associate Director, Center for Law, Health & Society