Miami Law Launches New Focus on Health Law

With South Florida as a major center for health care, health law is a fast-growing field with many opportunities for specialized attorneys.
Miami Law Launches New Focus on Health Law
Jazmine Vera, J.D. '22 & 3L Chelsea Olivera

Miami Law has launched a new area of focus in health law, to address the need for specialized practitioners in South Florida, a major international health care hub. Students may fulfill the focus area requirements by taking advantage of specialized and experiential opportunities related to health law, including the Health Rights Clinic.

"The University of Miami School of Law already offers a number of exciting classes and experiential opportunities related to health law, along with an active student Health Law Association and several important health-related joint degree programs," said Professor Gabriel Scheffler, faculty adviser for the focus who works primarily in health law and policy, administrative law, and occupational regulation. "The new area of focus will help to highlight the health law opportunities at the law school and enable our graduates to showcase their experience and training in health law."

Recent grad lands health sector employment

Jazmine Vera, J.D. ‘22, began at the Jackson Health Network following an externship. Her skill, hard work, and determination earned her a spot in one of the most selective externship employers.

"My externship was an incredible and immersive learning experience," Vera said. "My goal entering law school was to begin working in the health care legal industry post-graduation. Thanks to the Miami Law externship program, I recently began my professional journey with Jackson Health System!"

The externship program awarded Vera the winner of the 2021-2022 CLEA Externship Award. The program is an opportunity for law students to receive academic credit for work experience at approved legal services providers. 

Students and recent graduates have benefited from the courses, clinics, and opportunities that have long been in place at Miami Law.

3L pursuing a career in health law

Third-year Chelsea Olivera has used her Miami Law coursework knowledge to secure prestigious opportunities and a pathway to a post-graduation position.

"The Health Law & Policy course I took my 1L year with Professor Scheffler was extremely useful in providing a broad overview of some of the major legal and policy issues in health law," Olivera said. “The course discussed important issues that are creatures of state law, including medical malpractice, certificate of need laws, and the corporate practice of medicine doctrine. The course also discussed major federal statutes related to health care, including the Affordable Care Act, ERISA, federal antitrust laws and major antitrust cases involving health care defendants, and public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The Health Law & Policy course is a mandatory course for the Health Law Area of Focus.

“It prepared me for my 1L summer clerkship at Wolfe Pincavage, a boutique health care firm in Miami, where I focused on health care regulatory matters. Understanding the landscape of the health care industry, which I learned in Professor Scheffler’s course, was instrumental in refining my research and analyzing regulatory issues,” she said.

“The Fraud & Abuse course with Professor Jodi Laurence prepared me for my 2L summer associate position at McDermott Will & Emery, where I worked with the firm’s health care M&A Practice,” said Olivera. “Understanding the nuances of the health care industry and key legal issues such as the corporate practice of medicine doctrine and state licensing statutes was helpful in understanding why various health care acquisition deals were carefully structured in certain ways.” The Fraud & Abuse course is an elective course for the Health Law Area of Focus.

Olivera is on track to continue at McDermott’s health care M&A Practice after graduating in May 2023.

“I was in a unique position when I came to law school because I already knew I wanted to pursue a career in health law,” said Olivera. “Before I accepted my offer of admission to Miami Law, I met with Professor Scheffler. I was impressed that Miami Law offered the Health Law & Policy and Fraud & Abuse courses, which few law schools offer.” 

"I was also attracted to the many career opportunities in the health care industry that South Florida offers. I felt confident that I would be able to pursue a career in health law after graduating from Miami Law," she said.

Olivera said that Miami Law has an amazing transactional skills program led by Professor Marcia Narine Weldon. “The health law courses, in conjunction with various Transactional Skills and M&A courses, helped me succeed. For students interested in regulatory health care work, Miami Law has a for-credit externship program with UHealth Compliance, where students can work closely with UHealth's in-house lawyers and compliance officers," she added.

Read more about studying Health Care Law at Miami Law