This summer 3L Laura Anne Taylor will travel to Atlanta, GA to serve as the ORISE Fellow Legal Intern at the HHS Office of the General Counsel, Public Health Division at the Centers for Disease Control.
In the interview below, she describes this exciting summer opportunity.
How did you first become aware of this position?
I first heard about the summer position with the CDC through the Government Honors Handbook, which is disseminated to Quinney students through our PDO. I had read about the internship as a 1L but hadn’t seriously considered applying or moving to Atlanta until the PDO office sent an email this spring indicating that, despite being past the initial deadline, the CDC was still soliciting applications, which made me realize that the opportunity might actually be possible for me. I came to law school with an interest in health law and public health policy, and always thought that my “dream job” after law school would be somewhere in the healthcare space – for example, as in-house counsel for a healthcare or public health organization – so the CDC position is really a perfect fit.
What kind of work will you be doing in this position?
From what I understand, this position is similar to an in-house legal counsel position in that the General Counsel is essentially the in-house counsel for HHS and CDC. There are other divisions that primarily cover medical malpractice and employment issues (e.g., defending public healthcare providers against medical malpractice claims, and dealing with employment claims against HHS/CDC), so the office I will be working in basically handles everything else. Hopefully, that means I’ll be conducting legal research on many different types of public health issues. I imagine the experience will be similar to other in-house positions I have had, which involved writing internal research memos, coordinating with other divisions, etc.
How has your work with the Center for Law and Biomedical Sciences and your coursework at the College of Law prepared you for this opportunity?
Working with the professors involved in the Center for Law and Biomedical Sciences and taking the health law classes and clinic offered by the law school have really helped me immerse myself in health law issues, ranging from exploring options for a national health system to considering ramifications of Supreme Court decisions about generic pharmaceuticals to observing the operation of a large-scale healthcare corporation. The applications of biolaw are so broad because it is truly an interdisciplinary area of the law, involving elements of contract law, privacy law, constitutional law, intellectual property, complex federal regulation, and more, as well as areas of medicine, genetics, medical technology, and the biosciences. The establishment of the Center is bringing more attention to these types of issues, and the law school is now starting to offer more biolaw-related courses and more interdisciplinary types of courses generally.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The intersection of law and biosciences is a growing, dynamic area of practice that I’m really excited to be involved in. Along with countless others in the healthcare and public health fields, attorneys who work in biolaw and in health law generally are going to be instrumental in the changes our country is making in its national health policy. Also, I would encourage anyone interested in policy or federal regulation to consider applying to opportunities in the Government Handbook, because they’re definitely within reach!