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Despite being a significant segment of the economy, the discipline of health law is relatively new. This is particularly evident in many law schools where health law is still not represented by a full-time faculty member. Some of these schools either do not teach any courses in the area or rely primarily on adjuncts. For those unfamiliar with the discipline, it can be difficult to understand its content and breadth, which becomes a particular challenge to faculties that want to hire a health law professor for the first time, or for academic deans attempting to identify appropriately qualified adjuncts. Meanwhile, employers seeking to hire health lawyers face difficulties in finding candidates with the practical skills and experience required to fulfill their health law needs. These challenges are made all the more difficult by the frequent and expansive changes in the laws that govern the area and a struggling economy that has resulted in less employers willing to hire and train attorneys new to the bar.
Given the increased importance of health law to the country, and with an understanding that health law is one of the few areas of the legal economy that continues to grow, the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) has collaborated with several health law academics and practicing attorneys to create a resource that will support law schools in their health law curricular development. The goal of the collaboration is to aid schools in producing students substantively ready to practice health law upon graduation and support their efforts to integrate skills development into their curricula. In addition, for those schools interested in beginning or expanding their health law programs, we hope the collaboration will aid in identifying qualified full-time and adjunct health law professors.
This resource first discusses health law curricula from both the academic and employer perspectives. It then provides health law curricula guidance that was developed on the basis of these perspectives and addresses best practices for health law clinics and externships. It also addresses potential state-specific issues and options for law schools to form an alliance with AHLA, along with a state survey that reveals which states may have formally defined the “practice of health law” or which ones certify health law as a specialty. The appendices provide problem sets and a teacher’s manual that can be used in health law courses to develop practical skills; general statistics about law schools that offer health law courses, and states that require pro bono services in order for an attorney to maintain her license. Ultimately, we hope this resource represents the beginning of a long-term collaboration that will foster greater development of, and continuous improvement in, health law curricula.
American Health Lawyers Association
clinics, externships, toolkit, curricula
Health Law and Policy | Law
Outterson, Kevin, "AHLA Health Law Curriculum Manual" (2014). Books. 32.