Sadie Sullivan is a health law attorney at Miles & Peters in Denver, where she represents a variety of health care providers, including hospitals, nursing homes, physician groups, and others within the health care industry. She practices in the areas of fraud and abuse, Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement, health facility and professional licensing, regulatory compliance, business planning, and commercial transactions. Sullivan knew going into law school that she wanted to do something with health law, and that she wanted to practice in Colorado.
The most helpful thing that I did as a law student was to do externships. Not only did my externships help me expand my professional network, but they also provided me with valuable insight into how hospitals operate or how a federal agency conducts its HIPAA investigations. Such insight made me a more attractive applicant when it came time to apply for associate positions.
Writing (and communicating in general) in a way that the client will understand. It’s a skill that the civil practice clinic with Professor Norm Aaronson helped me develop. In clinic, we would often have to talk to our clients about the legal issues of their case, and I always found it challenging to get the “legalese” out of my conversations with clients.
I started my professional network by first identifying health lawyers in Denver and then meeting with them informally over lunch or coffee. I have maintained contact with most of them, letting them know what has happened in my career or congratulating them on their professional accomplishments. They helped me get internships and still give me advice on being a first year associate.
My job evolved from a summer associate position the summer between my 2L and 3L year. I had contacted one of the firm’s shareholders for an informational interview, which in turn led to a summer associate position with the firm. At the end of that summer, the firm offered me a job.
Network. It is not about how many people you know, but the quality of relationship that you have with the ones that you do know. Be deliberate and focused in tailoring your resume to your interests. For example, if you are interested in health law, make sure that your internships, classwork, and networking reflect that interest.