Health Law Practice

Health Law is a wide-ranging practice area that relates to laws and regulations that govern the vast health care industry, which accounts for nearly a fifth of the U.S. economy. Attorneys practicing in this field may engage in either litigation or transactional work.

Examples of health law litigation include health care fraud and abuse prosecution and defense, malpractice actions, antitrust challenges, insurance coverage actions, and tax-exemption disputes.  Litigators also participate in administrative hearings on behalf of health care insurers, providers, consumers or government agencies.  

Transactional health lawyers may advise and assist clients in structuring agreements and establishing policies that minimize the client’s risk of compliance violations. They also work with the legislative and executive branches of government, or interested private parties and organizations to draft, advocate for and implement rules governing licensure, payment, quality of care, patient rights and access to services.

Villanova Law’s Health Law program provides students with a practical understanding of legal regulation of the health care industry. Students can take advantage of numerous learning opportunities in the classroom, in a clinical setting and through externship placements. Health Law is one of three practice areas for which Villanova offers a JD concentration. This intensive course of study allows students to show the breadth and depth of their Health Law experience.

A highlight of our offerings is the Interdisciplinary Mental and Physical Health Law Clinic, in which law students and graduate nursing students work collaboratively to assist low-income clients to understand and assert their rights within the health care system, and to access necessary treatment. In this litigation-based clinic, students represent clients who are fighting for disability benefits, seeking to assist with surrogate decision-making, or fighting a denial of coverage by a commercial, insurer, Medicare, or Medicaid.

Students may also pursue an externship in the field. A hallmark of Villanova’s educational experience, our externship program offers placements in a variety of practice settings, including corporate, government, and nonprofit (see below for a list of recent placements). Externships are supervised by both an on-site field instructor and a full-time faculty member who works closely with each student to monitor progress and to ensure overall professional development.

The below list highlights Villanova Law courses that are fundamentally associated with this practice area.

Of the courses listed below, the foundational doctrinal courses—Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Constitutional Law and Torts—and an upper level Legal Writing (Transactional or Litigation) are required. The remaining courses are helpful but not required for those interested in the field.

  • Administrative Law
  • Business Organizations
  • Health Care Business and Compliance
  • Health Care and the Law
  • Medical Malpractice

The below list highlights Villanova Law courses that are related, but not necessarily essential to this practice area. Students interested in this field may consider enrolling in these courses to supplement their studies. 

  • Administrative Rulemaking: The Regulatory Process
  • Bioethics and the Law
  • Corporate Compliance Risk Management
  • Elder Law
  • Employee Benefits
  • Insurance Law
  • Law of Drugs and Biologics
  • Privacy Law
  • Worker’s Compensation Law



Student in Class