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Why Are Women Lawyers Thriving in Health Care Law?

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

If a "perfect storm" means a confluence of conditions ending in disaster, what would be the opposite?

The darkness before light? A cloud with a silver lining? Whatever it is, there has been a change in the weather for women in the law, at least in one practice area.

Women may be better represented in health care law than any other practice area. According to some practitioners, it happened because of perfect conditions.

Health Care Law

Studies show that women make up about one third of the lawyers in practice. They tend to find work in niche areas, such as immigration and family law, but are generally underrepresented in BigLaw areas like corporate law and litigation.

However, according to reports, women are thriving in health care law. Bloomberg says there are good reasons for it, including:

  • Interesting work
  • Diverse clients
  • Collegiality
  • Opportunities

The account is anecdotal, but based on women who know the history of the practice area. Lisa Diehl Vandecaveye, general counsel for a national health care commission, says there was a "convergence" in legal education and health care law.

It happened as more women graduated law schools and as health care practices emerged.

Small and Regional Firms

Kathleen L. DeBruhl, told Bloomberg that health care lawyers can be found at virtually any size practice. "There is plenty of room in the practice for small and regional law firms," she said.

The American Health Lawyers Association is also a barometer for the practice area. The association has promoted women from its ranks, including thirteen of its 28 governing board members. The immediate past president and president-elect are women.

While gender diversity in the legal profession may still be far from perfect, at least the storm is going in the right direction for women in health care law.

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