Since 1984, I have been a member of the faculty at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law. During my time at the law school, I have enjoyed becoming acquainted with many students who are now successful health-care lawyers. Cumberland School of Law is an excellent choice for students with an interest in health-care law because of our location, our relationships with health-care lawyers, our links with the University of Alabama at Birmingham [UAB], and the strength of our curriculum.
Birmingham is a health-care center; in fact, the health-care sector is the largest employer in the area. There are a number of excellent hospitals and hospital systems with operations in Birmingham: UAB Hospital, UAB Hospital West, Brookwood Medical Center, Children's Hospital, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Trinity Medical Center, a Veteran’s Administration Hospital, and hospitals owned by the Baptist Health System. There are also several corporate offices for health insurers and other businesses in Birmingham that provide services to health-care organizations. A number of our graduates work as health-care lawyers in Alabama and other states. They are employed in the health-care departments of large law firms, as malpractice lawyers, as in-house counsel in hospitals or health-care businesses, and as legal counsel for governmental agencies that regulate health-care organizations. We maintain close relationships with our graduates who work in health-care law. Every fall we sponsor a continuing legal education seminar on health-care law that features speakers from throughout the nation who are prominent health-care lawyers. This seminar is attended by many graduates of Cumberland School of Law as well as graduates of other law schools. Students are invited to attend this seminar and it provides an excellent networking opportunity for them.
Since 1988, we have had a concurrent Juris Doctor/Master of Public Health program with the UAB School of Public Health, Department of Health-Care Organization and Policy. We have many graduates of this program that have gone on to successful careers in health-care law. This concurrent degree program allows students to receive both degrees in approximately three and a half years; and several students have managed to satisfy the requirements for the program in three years by attending summer school. It maybe possible for students in this program to receive credit for 12 hours toward their J.D. degree for courses taken in the M.P.H. program; and the UAB School of Public Health reciprocates by giving 12 hours credit toward the M.P.H. degree for law school courses.
Cumberland School of Law also offers a number of health-care law courses. I teach courses on human subject research, medical liability, pharmaceuticals and medical device law, and public health law. Professor Joseph Snoe teaches courses on governmental regulation of health-care organizations and the taxation of nonprofit organizations. Professors Snoe and David Smolin teach courses on bioethics and law. Professor Smolin is also Director of the Center for Biotechnology, Law and Ethics, an entity that sponsors an annual symposium that features well known speakers from academia. This symposium typically focuses on a topic related to health-care law. In addition, Samford University has a Center for Health Care Ethics and Law (the HEAL Center) that focuses specifically on bioethical issues. The HEAL Center also sponsors an annual symposium on bioethics at which time it awards the Pellegrino Medal to leaders in the field of bioethics. The medalists present papers and there is comment by some of the Fellows of the HEAL Center.
If you are interested in becoming a health-care lawyer, Cumberland School of Law provides an excellent opportunity for you to jump-start your career. Please feel free to call upon me if I can be of any assistance to you in choosing a law school.
Leonard J. Nelson, III
• Read more about health law in the law school's online viewbook.
Page last updated: Wed, 02/29/2012 - 15:50