UM Carey Law’s Health Law Regulatory and Compliance Competition, is designed to immerse students in the complex legal environment that health law attorneys practice in every day. Now in its second year, the competition, which was held on February 16, provided exposure to the different bodies of law and regulation governing health care institutions, the life sciences and the pharmaceuticals industry--and with it important litigation experience that may be otherwise absent in the typical health law curriculum.
“The competition is an opportunity to step out of the classroom and apply legal and analytical skills to real-life scenarios,” explains Virginia Rowthorn, managing director of the Law & Health Care Program. “As law schools move toward providing more practical opportunities for students, this competition lets them step into the shoes of health law attorneys and regulators to address contemporary regulatory and compliance concerns.”
In addition to practical experience, “the competition is important for health law students because most of the health law classes require writing substantive papers about a narrow area of the law,” adds 3L Abe Gitterman, who started the competition last year with the help of Professor Rowthorn and the Student Health Law Organization (SHLO). “While some students may choose interesting or cutting edge cases, there is very little opportunity to apply these cases to facts that arise in current health law practice. This competition fills that gap.”
Given health care reform and the complexity of FDA regulations, the competition-- the only one of its kind in the nation--supplies students with hands-on practice interpreting and applying federal health regulations to situations that are closely modeled after recent health care regulatory cases.
“Students that participated in the competition learned how to identify some of the critical and essential elements of fraud and abuse law, FDA promotional law, and how companies must comply with an array of federal health regulations,” said Gitterman.
This year the competition attracted teams from 13 schools, up from 8 last year. Competitors included teams from Saint Louis University School of Law, Loyola University School of Law, Chicago, University of Virginia School of Law, and Penn State University Dickinson School of Law.
Students also benefited from the mentorship of an impressive list of judges, including the president and CEO of Bayer HealthCare LLC, attorneys for the Office of the Chief Counsel to the Inspector General (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), and partners at top law firms in Baltimore and Washington, DC.