As industries evolve, they’re often confronted with new and unexpected challenges. This is especially true for lawyers, who must keep up to speed with new regulations, policies, and decisions—all of which can frequently turn on a dime.
“You have to be detail-oriented, which is generally true in law, but in a health care practice you have to really pay attention,” says Bruce D. Lamb of Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart. “These regulations are not always intuitive. You might think you have an understanding of what the government was trying to do, but that’s not always the right answer.”
For Lamb, a three-time “Lawyer of the Year” winner for Health Care Law in Tampa and the head of his practice, the rapid pace of development in his field is part of its appeal.
“You constantly have to educate yourself to keep up with both the changes in the regulations and also the interpretations of the regulations. You have situations where the regulatory agencies are giving advisory publications, they’re asking for advisory opinions, and when those are published it’s incumbent upon health care practitioners to keep up with those things. Were all constantly reading the latest publications to keep up with changes. It makes it intellectually challenging.”
After decades in the business, Lamb is in a better position than most to observe and understand the industry’s profound changes. From the growth of computer-assisted diagnostic tools to electronic records, he has seen how technology influences the way practitioners operate. The trend towards larger conglomerations over more personal mom-and-pop health care operations is also giving clues to how your visit to the doctor might change in the future.
The relationships between patients and providers might be in flux, but for health care lawyers, the community is as tight-knit and consistent as it’s ever been.
“Within the community, you know the other heath care lawyers pretty well. Even on a national scale—I’m in the American Health Lawyers Association—you’ll find it’s a fairly narrow practice area, which is rewarding economically and because you’re able to distinguish yourself from some of the other practices. That’s one thing that’s really nice about the practice.”