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How to Become a Healthcare Lawyer

April 14, 2024

Healthcare law regulates and governs many issues in the healthcare industry. Healthcare lawyers provide either comprehensive legal assistance or specialized services related to a single legal area. Students interested in learning how to become a healthcare lawyer can explore the importance of healthcare law, the duties of a lawyer in the industry, and the available educational options that help them move this career forward.

What Is Healthcare Law?

The field of healthcare law is organized into several major areas. Lawyers can either cover all the areas or focus on one or more to provide specific legal services.

Medical Malpractice

State laws govern medical malpractice cases. Healthcare lawyers may represent medical facilities in cases where patients claim to be victims of medical negligence. They can also represent patients or former patients in medical malpractice cases.


State and federal attorney’s offices seek out healthcare fraud cases. Fraud in the healthcare industry can have serious consequences and includes the following areas:

  • Drug fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Professional misconduct


Healthcare law has many components, so navigating the complex legal framework can be difficult without trained healthcare lawyers. These professionals work with medical facilities to ensure compliance with the following and other healthcare laws:

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • False Claims Act (FCA)
  • Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS)
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA)


Attorneys assist both medical facilities and patients in navigating health insurance claims, questions, and disputes. Whether working with medical facilities or patients, attorneys ensure that patients’ rights are protected.

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Duties and Responsibilities of a Healthcare Lawyer

Because health law is multifaceted, the exact duties and responsibilities of healthcare lawyers can vary. Healthcare lawyers are responsible for remaining up to date on laws and regulations in health law. They also must ensure that their clients are represented fairly and, if working with a medical facility, must monitor compliance. The daily responsibilities of many health lawyers include the following:

  • Advising clients on healthcare matters
  • Advocating for clients
  • Researching legal matters
  • Preparing documents

Some attorneys primarily work to research and prepare documents. Others spend more time working closely with clients or medical professionals as they handle legal cases, so the daily duties of a healthcare lawyer can vary depending on the particular focus and employer.

Salary and Career Outlook for Healthcare Lawyers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare lawyers earned a median annual salary of $135,740 in May 2022. While this is the median, BLS data reports that the lowest 10 percent of earners had an annual salary of less than $66,470, while the top 10 percent earned more than $239,200.

The number of lawyers in the United States is expected to increase by 8 percent between 2022 and 2032, according to the BLS, faster than the average job growth rate. Healthcare lawyers typically work in office settings. They can work in private practice settings, medical facilities, or government offices.

Steps to Become a Healthcare Attorney

Individuals interested in learning how to become a healthcare lawyer need to review the following steps. These steps are required and recommended to prepare for a career as a healthcare lawyer, whether representing clients, working in state or federal government, or working in a healthcare facility.

Education Requirements

Healthcare attorneys need to have a bachelor’s degree before pursuing a career in health law. The exact entry requirements of law schools vary, but most require applicants to complete the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Other schools allow applicants to take the GRE instead of, or in addition to, the LSAT.

Advanced Education and Licensing

Candidates should complete a JD degree. After completing the degree, graduates must pass the bar exam to become licensed. Licensing and certification steps and requirements vary by state, so prospective attorneys should ensure that they meet their state’s guidelines and requirements. 

While not always required, a master’s degree in healthcare administration or another degree related to health law can better prepare attorneys to practice in the field by giving attorneys a deeper understanding of the essential policies and practices of health institutions.

Related Skills

Healthcare attorneys must have both technical skills and soft skills to be successful in the field. Technical skills include an in-depth understanding of health law and related legal concepts. Soft skills that can help a healthcare attorney perform their required duties include the following:

  • Analytical problem-solving
  • Research
  • Critical thinking
  • Professional communication, including writing, interpersonal communication, and public speaking

Attorneys must not only understand the complexities of health law and legal matters but also routinely communicate compliance issues and other aspects of the law to patients, medical professionals, and other parties. Because health law changes with new cases and legislation, attorneys must continue to research and review the field with attention to critical details.

Learn More About How to Become a Healthcare Lawyer

Take the next step in your career to practice health law in your chosen area. Learn more about how to become a healthcare lawyer and see if Tulane University’s Online Master of Health Administration (MHA) program is right for you. Learn the applied analytical skills you need to promote data-driven decision-making in a healthcare organization through real-world learning and industry-leading instruction.

Advance Your Public Health Career with an MHA Program

Pursue Your Degree Online From Tulane University
Find Out More

Recommended Readings

Population Health Management: A Healthcare Administration Perspective

Ethics in Health Care: Improving Patient Outcomes

Data-Driven Decision-Making for Health Administrators

Source List

Juris Education, “How To Become a Medical Lawyer”

The National Law Review, “How to Become a Health Lawyer: Education Requirements, Salary, Job Market, and More”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Lawyers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, Lawyers

ZipRecruiter, What Is a Health Care Attorney and How to Become One