Last summer Morgan Schroeder (J.D. ’20) participated in a valuable summer fellowship sponsored by the Georgia Academy of Healthcare Attorneys. “I am interested in health law and had taken a few classes, but the fellowship allowed me to actually experience the field hands on,” she said. “This was a great introduction to the field and makes me excited to pursue a career in health law!”
Nearly twenty Georgia State Law students have participated in the GAHA fellowship since it first began in 1998. GAHA is a member organization of the Georgia Hospital Association and is comprised of health care attorneys that serve as in-house or outside counsel to hospitals and health systems. The paid summer fellowship is intended to provide students an opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills in health law, policy, advocacy and practice.
The summer fellowship is highly competitive. Initially, one law student in Georgia was selected to work with GHA’s legal department for the summer. The program later expanded to two students. Beginning in 2007, the students began alternating half of the summer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in the Office of the General Counsel and half with GHA.
“The experiences at GHA and Children’s are very different,” said Keri Conley, general counsel and senior vice president of health care policy at GHA and a member of the Center for Law, Health & Society’s advisory board. “Children’s is a much larger organization, and the work there supports the operation of the hospital; whereas, the time spent at GHA, a nonprofit trade association made up of member hospitals and health systems, tends to be more focused on legal analysis of various health care policy proposals or helping to provide education to our members.”
Ryan Kerr (J.D./M.S.H.A. ’15), an associate at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, recalls participating in the GAHA fellowship when the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius was announced in 2012. “Being able to listen to discussions of the case gave me a real world perspective on the implications of the decision.” The position helped him meet his first employer after law school in the legal department of one of GHA’s member hospitals. He credits his fellowship supervisors at GHA and Children’s with providing valuable advice on his work product, working with clients and applying for jobs.
“The experience at GHA helped me to hit the ground running as a first year health law associate. I am still in touch with individuals I worked with, many of whom have moved on to different roles,” said Laurice Rutledge Lambert (J.D. ‘10), a partner at BakerHostetler LLP. She participated during the summer after graduation while studying for the Bar exam and says that the fellowship helped with developing time management skills. “I love what I do, and am thankful that I pursued a legal career in a field that I genuinely care about and am interested in.”
Applications for the GAHA fellowship are due in September for the following summer.