Meg Panzer made the most of her professional networks to launch her career in the field of medical law. Exercising the skills she acquired at Colorado Law, she investigates, monitors, and assesses cases, resolving disputes and communicating complex ideas in her job as a claims representative for New York Presbyterian Hospital’s Office of Legal Affairs and Risk Management.
Tell us a little about your work. What do you do, and what might a “typical” work day look like?
I work at New York Presbyterian Hospital in the Office of Legal Affairs and Risk Management as a claims representative. I transitioned into the hospital setting in September 2013, and my work currently focuses on the investigation and management of healthcare-related professional and general liability claims and lawsuits. I direct the investigation, identify potential liability, determine exposure, and manage outside defense counsel. A typical day involves initiating the investigation of any new cases, monitoring all existing cases with particular attention to those coming up for trial, and attending meetings with outside defense counsel or a panel of doctors to assess liability and determine the direction we want to take on a case.
How did you find your job?
Prior to this role, I worked for a medical malpractice defense firm, Martin Clearwater & Bell LLP. New York Presbyterian Hospital is one of the firm’s largest hospital clients.
How did Colorado Law help you in your job search?
While I was in law school, I was conducting a long-distance job search for a position in New York City. Colorado Law put me in touch with several alumni who had relocated to the New York area. This allowed me to make connections and start building a network out East. I also asked for help from professors who had lived in New York, and they set up meetings for me with individuals they knew in the area.
What skills do you utilize on a daily basis, and how did your experiences or courses at Colorado Law help you develop these skills?
We frequently participate in settlement negotiations and mediations. I use the skills from a course I took in alternative dispute resolution on a daily basis. Additionally, legal writing taught me how to communicate effectively and pay attention to detail. These skills are essential for communicating complex ideas in both law and medicine.
Please talk a little about “people skills” and networking specifically. How has your professional network made a difference in your career?
When I moved back East from Colorado, it was critical to start building a professional network immediately. I was astounded by how many connections I had through friends from law school and before who were thrilled to help put me in touch with people who could offer guidance.
What advice would you give to current students with respect to finding a job?
Seek out mentors everywhere. As you are building your network, find people whose work you admire and create and consistently work to maintain meaningful relationships with those people. Stay in touch with professors and peers after graduation. When you find people who inspire you, let them know. Take them to coffee, pick their brains, follow their writing and their work, and go beyond superficial connections.
If you were to recommend Colorado Law to a potential law student, what would you say?
At Colorado Law, you are surrounded by the brightest and most interesting people you will ever meet. You will sit next to someone in Torts and be astonished by their insightful analysis and then you will learn that they woke up at 4 a.m. to go rock climbing before class. The critical thinker in your property class might also have a hobby of running ultramarathons on the weekends. The motivation, the interest, and the passion that Colorado Law students have for their careers and their lives is both inspiring and contagious.
Why did you choose Colorado Law?
Colorado Law is all about balance: balance of work and life, balance of serious and humorous, and balance of indoor studying and outdoor recreation. In addition to brilliant professors who will challenge you at every turn and students who are intelligent and dedicated, Colorado Law is located in the most idyllic setting of any law school in the United States. Through the rigors of law school, the mountains of Colorado were always there to remind me to keep things in perspective.
To see more Promising Starts: www.colorado.edu/law/careers/career-paths/promising-starts