By Jacob D. Butz
On Tuesday morning, February 18, 2020, the Health Law Society teamed up with the Indianapolis Bar Association to host a Breakfast with the Bar event at the Indiana University (IU) Robert H. McKinney School of Law. In attendance were law students from all three class years and Indianapolis attorneys from various health law practices with differing degrees of experience. As such, in an intimate group discussion, each attendant shared their experiences, asked and answered unique questions, and learned about one another—all while sipping coffee and indulging in delectable pastries.
The discussion began with introductions and gave students and professionals the opportunity to provide everyone with background information about themselves. Shortly thereafter, the students inquired about specific questions relative to the practice of health law. Due to the breadth of the practice area, students can often feel puzzled when determining exactly what sub-area they may want to explore. Our students were no stranger to this, which prompted robust conversation on all the varying areas of health law they could potentially find themselves in. And, conveniently, our attending professionals were in the best position to provide insight from their careers either in private practice or in-house counsel roles.
The majority of the initial questions were asked by the discussion’s facilitator, but once everyone felt comfortable, the group transitioned their communication style to a more relaxed conversation; students always feel more at ease once the ice was broken. Professionals were then able to tailor their input with personal experiences and put forth invaluable advice on how to succeed as health care attorneys. As professionals talked about their personal career paths from their inception, the students were able to envision and plan their own paths. Upon departure from the event, students became equipped with the tools required to adjust their goals and objectives as necessary.
Specifically, students were encouraged to develop interpersonal skills in addition to successfully achieving a law degree. Per the professionals’ advice, the best way to attain this to join student and professional organizations, meet and network with practicing health care attorneys at events similar to the Breakfast, and keep an open mind upon entrance to the health law profession.
The most fulfilling segment of the conversation was when the pressure on the professionals to answer question after question was lifted and, conversely, the students were placed in the hot seat. Students were asked to disclose their hobbies and social and personal activities they engage in outside of their law school duties. In turn, this allowed for students to talk about subjects they’re passionate about in lieu of feeling pressured to keep the discussion fixed on the law.
In sum, each student benefitted tremendously from listening to our professional attendants. We want to recognize and thank Taryn Stone of Ice Miller, Maggie Little and Andrew Owen of IU Health, and Alexandria Foster of Krieg DeVault for volunteering their time to such a wonderful discussion.
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