Having an attorney you can work with is essential for physicians today. It’s not easy to choose an attorney. With the complexity of law and the specialty and subspecialty areas for attorneys, it can be an intimidating task to search for a good lawyer. Sometimes a general practice attorney won’t be sufficient. We need a real estate attorney to buy or sell a home or business, a business attorney to help hire a new partner, a tax attorney for tax matters, etc. Just like needing a neurological surgeon to perform brain surgery rather than a hematologist, you will need different types of lawyers to service different aspects of the law.
Physicians need an attorney who focuses on Health Care Law to help them navigate through contracts, malpractice issues, HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), as well as federal and state laws, rules, and regulations affecting the health care industry.
Be diligent in your search for an attorney. They are not all created equal. One of the best ways to find a good lawyer is to ask friends or trusted colleagues within the health care profession who they use, and if they feel good about making a recommendation. Seek out trustworthy sources and research who they list as “best lawyers”. U.S. News & World Report has a list of the top lawyers for health care that is compiled through a series of surveys and a rating system that includes lawyer and client feedback. You can also visit the Super Lawyers Web site. Super Lawyers is a rating service of lawyers from over 70 areas of specialty practice who have earned peer recognition and high professional achievement.
When interviewing potential lawyers it’s essential that you understand and agree to a communication style. Let them know up front what you expect as far as communication concerning legal matters. If you want a lawyer who is going to keep you informed without waiting weeks for responses, you must agree to that prior to entering into a client relationship. You also need to have a clear understanding of fees. Agree only to a fee structure that works for you. Speak to more than one candidate and compare fees and how they will manage communications. Don’t enter into this relationship lightly. And, like a good lawyer, get everything in writing.
- Best Law Firms. U.S. News & World Report: http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/search.aspx?practice-area-id=28&practice-area=Health+Care+Law.
- Starnes, T. Mad at Your Lawyer? Nolo Press; 1996. Super Lawyers Web site:http://www.superlawyers.com.