Health Law News

Health Law Certificate Program Announcement

First year students who are interested in concentrating in Health Law should register for the Health Law Certificate Program when registering for classes this spring. The program has been redesigned and made more flexible for the class of 2018, and the number of courses required to complete the program has been reduced. If you have questions or would like further information, consult the website ( Prof. Meisel (; room 520) or Prof. Crossley (; room 503) would also be glad to speak with you about the program.

Publish Date: 
Friday, March 18, 2016 - 10:00am

Pitt Law's Health Law Program Ranked #12 in Nation by 2017 U.S. News and World Report

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s health law program is now ranked 12th in the nation—out of nearly 200 law schools—in the most recent U.S. News & World Report law school specialty rankings.

"I am delighted that our health law program continues to be recognized for its excellence. Due to its prominent faculty and interdisciplinary focus, students in our health law program continue to be highly sought after by employers,” said Pitt Law Dean William M. Carter, Jr.

The Health Law Certificate Program has the advantage of being affiliated with the world-class, comprehensive health care facilities available at the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt Law is only three blocks away from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center System's complex of hospitals and numerous institutes and clinics. 

The city of Pittsburgh is host to a large number of law firms and attorneys who specialize in or have departments in health law. Students meet and network with many of these attorneys, as well as health care practitioners, lawmakers, and representatives of consumer groups, through the innovative Current Issues in Health Law course.

Previously, Pitt Law's health law program was ranked #14 in the 2016 U.S. News and World Report law school specialty rankings.

Publish Date: 
Thursday, March 17, 2016 - 4:30pm

Pitt Law's Semester in D.C. Program Launches New Policy Track


Contact: Cori Begg
(o) 412-624-5176
(c) 412-310-3672

University of Pittsburgh School of Law Launches Semester in D.C. Policy Track
Pitt Law only law school in US to offer Semester in D.C. Program with graduate policy school

PITTSBURGH— The University of Pittsburgh School of Law announced the spring 2016 launch of a new Policy Track to the Semester in D.C. Program. The Policy Track is an addition to the longstanding Semester in D.C. Program, designed to offer the intensive training necessary to ensure student success in post-graduate policy-related jobs. Pitt Law is the only law school in the country to offer students a Semester in D.C. Program in conjunction with a graduate policy school.

The Semester in D.C. Program enables law students to gain full-time experience working with a non-profit or government office while engaging in a weekly seminar with fellow law students and Professor Elena Baylis, Pitt Law’s full-time faculty member in D.C. In partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), the new Semester in D.C. Program Policy Track will equip Pitt Law students with the skills that employers want from new policy professionals, such as: 

  • Policy Externship: The program is centered on the real-world experience of a policy-related internship in Washington with a government or nonprofit office.
  • Policy Colloquium: Students engage in regular meetings with Professor Baylis and their fellow students, alumni mentors, and other policy practitioners.
  • Policy skills classes: Pitt Law has developed two courses in Law-Making and Lobbying & Advocacy in conjunction with GSPIA and Washington-area alumni who do policy work.
  • Legal and policy perspectives: Law students take these courses jointly with GSPIA policy students to benefit from both the law and policy perspectives.

The two policy skills courses, the Law-Making Seminar and Lobbying & Advocacy, are carefully designed to complement each other:

  • Law-Making Seminar: Students discover the real-world dynamics of legislation, regulation, and policy implementation by talking directly with legislative staff, lobbyists, agency staff, and others who have worked directly on hot topics like the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform, and climate change regulations. They learn to analyze policy papers and write their own policy briefs.
  • Lobbying and Advocacy: GSPIA alumna and 15-year Hill/lobbying veteran Ali Bonebrake teaches students practical advocacy skills like drafting talking points, preparing for congressional hearings, and stakeholder mapping, culminating in a policy strategy presentation on a current policy topic for a hypothetical client.

To support this new, more robust curriculum, the Semester in D.C. Program will be offered only in the 2016-17 spring semester. This will enable Pitt Law’s D.C. faculty to prepare new courses and build a partnership with GSPIA, while ensuring a strong cohort of Law and GSPIA students in D.C. during the spring semester.

The Policy track also leverages Pitt Law’s position in D.C. to enhance law and policy curriculum in Pittsburgh. Law students in Pittsburgh may take the Law-Making and Lobbying courses via videoconference in the law school’s newly renovated Chief Justice Ralph J. Cappy Jury Room. The Policy Track will build connections between the Law School and Pitt Law’s Washington office, enabling all students to benefit from the Semester in D.C. Program.

Formally established in 1895, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law is the oldest and largest law-school program in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Pitt’s law-school program prepares its students for real-world practice through traditional legal coursework as well as experiential learning opportunities in one of its seven law clinics. With nearly 10,000 alumni, Pitt’s School of Law emphasizes practical skills training and helping its students enter the field of law as practice-ready legal professionals.



Publish Date: 
Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 6:15pm

Professor Stella Smetanka Receives 2015 Outstanding Pro Bono Award

Pitt Law Professor Emeritus Stella Smetanka is the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Pro Bono Award from the Pro Bono Center of the Allegheny County Bar Association. This award honors her significant contributions to providing free legal services to low-income residents of Allegheny County over the past year.

Professor Smetanka currently directs Pitt Law's Social Security Disability Practicum, has supervised the Health Law Clinic, is a member of the board of directors for the Neighborhood Legal Services Association, and volunteers at the Uptown Legal Clinic based in Bethlehem Haven. She has previously recieved the Chancellor's Distinguished Public Service Award for the University of Pittsburgh, has been published in the American Journal of Law & Medicine, and received the "Woman of the Year" award from the Pitt Law Women's Association, the Women's Bar Association of Western PA, and the Women in the Law Division of the Allegheny County Bar Association.

Publish Date: 
Monday, October 12, 2015 - 6:30pm

Alan Meisel Quoted In ABA Journal On Problematic Alzheimer's VSED Directives

The ABA Journal reached out to Pitt Law Professor and Director of the Center for Bioethics and Health Law Alan Meisel for expert commentary on the treatment of terminally ill patients nearing the end of life. According to the Alzheimer's Association, one in three seniors will die with some form of dementia, which has increased interest in VSEDs, an end-of-life advanced directive short for "voluntarily stopped eating and drinking."

VSEDs are considered a lawful way to hasten death in cases of terminally ill patient, according to the ABA Journal article.

Meisel told the journal, "People are saying: 'That's not how I want to die.' I don't want it agonizing for myself and my family. I'd rather do something that ends my life in a respectable fashion."

VSED requests for Alzheimer's are uncommon and untested, and they could prove problematic from both a legal and practical perspective. Read more in the ABA Journal article "Increased awareness of Alzheimer's disease is prompting a new push to use an old advance directive."

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 6:00pm

Mary Crossley Speaks To Bloomberg BNA Health Law Reporter On ADA Case

Pitt Law Professor Mary Crossley told Bloomberg BNA's Health Law Reporter that Physical accessibility to health-care providers' offices is “a real problem,” despite the number of years that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been in effect to require barrier-free access to places of public accommodation.

In the April 23 article "Wheelchair User's Case Against Doctor May Boost Litigation Over Barriers to Access," Crossley offered expert commentary on patients rights with regards to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the pending case Ass'n for Disabled Americans, Inc. v. Reinfeld Anderson Family, Ltd.

In 2013 Crossley was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Public Health Law Scholar in Residence, and she is currently serving as a Faculty Mentor for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Public Health Law Education Faculty Fellowship Program. Read more in the Bloomberg BNA Health Law Reporter.

Publish Date: 
Monday, May 4, 2015 - 4:45pm
Date and Times: 
Friday, April 17, 2015 - 12:00pm to 3:00pm

University of Pittsburgh School of Law
3900 Forbes Avenue Alcoa Room, 2nd Fl.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Please RSVP for this Symposium by Tuesday, April 14, 2015.

Over the past two decades a phenomenon in retirement planning has become more and more apparent in our region: Individuals are postponing retirement (if they retire at all) till well past age 65 – the normal entry year into the Medicare system. The result raises several important issues regarding the coordination of employer provided health care benefits and the Medicare system. This medicare symposium, Transitioning into Medicare: Coordinating Medicare Coverage with Employer Provided Health Care Benefits will be held Friday April 17th, from 12 pm to 3pm in the Alcoa Room at Pitt Law. This symposium is presented by the Allegheny County APPRISE program in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

The program will include a panel discussion and an opportunity for audience Q/A. Lunch will be provided. If you would like to attend and have not already RSVP'd, please email your RSVP to Bill McKendree at no later than Tuesday, April 14.

Pitt Law Students’ Memo Takes Second Place at Bryant National Health Law Transactional Moot

Pitt Law students had a strong showing at the Fifth Annual L. Edward Bryant, Jr. National Health Law Transactional Moot Court Competition. Zachary Laplante, Paul Bametzreider, and Mark Laird’s legal memorandum took second place at the competition, held at Loyola’s Corboy Law Center in Chicago, Ill. on March 20.

In the competition, three-person teams of JD students prepare a legal memorandum for a fictitious client, offering business and legal recommendations for how to go about entering the health insurance market in its region.

“It was somewhat challenging to go from more standard forms of law school work like legal memoranda and briefs or oral arguments to an advising situation,” Bametzreider said. “It was important in the competition not merely to describe legal outcomes, but to provide recommendations for how a business should proceed based on those possible outcomes.”

Pitt Law students Paul Bametzreider, Zachary Laplante, and Mark Laird

A distinguished panel of attorneys and health care executives, posing as the client’s “Executive Management Team,” serve as judges of the memoranda.

“Anticipating the judges' questions and knowing how to respond was also a real challenge,” Laplante said. “Our adviser, Bill Maruca [a 1982 Pitt Law alumnus and partner at Fox Rothschild], was invaluable in that respect.”

Laird said Pitt Law Professor Alan Meisel's Health Law & Policy and Current Issues in Health Law courses were vital to their understanding of the issues in the competition, as well to the drafting of the memorandum and their presentation.

“Pitt Law's health program prepared us to succeed in this competition by providing insight into the many areas of the U.S. health care system and its related laws,” he said.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Pitt Law’s health law program #14 out of nearly 200 law schools in its most recent law school specialty rankings.

Publish Date: 
Thursday, April 2, 2015 - 2:00pm

Pitt Law Graduate Joley Eason named Top 40 Under 40 by Richmond Style Weekly

Richmond, VA’s Style Weekly recently named Joley Eason (’12) a 2014 Top 40 Under 40 for her work in elder law and care.

“Working with seniors is not something I chose – I felt called,” Eason told Style Weekly. At Pitt Law, Eason served as a certified legal intern for the Elder Law clinic where she assisted seniors and their families in a variety of legal matters including as a Medicare counselor.

After graduating from Pitt Law in 2012, Eason’s journey took her to Thompson McMullan in Richmond where she works with elder law clients one-on-one and also includes pro bono cases in her work. Her pro bono work recently earned her the Krista Latshaw Pro Bono award from the Legal Information Network For Cancer where she was highlighted for her zealous advocacy for patients.

Eason also has become known for regularly speaking on topics in elder law and Medicare and Medicaid, including upcoming speaking engagements for National Business Institute and Virginia CLE seminars.

Read more about Joley Eason in Richmond’s Style Weekly and at Thompson McMullan.



Publish Date: 
Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 11:15am

Health Law Certificate Program - Meisel

There is an organizational meeting for 2Ls only on the first day of classes, Monday, August 29, at 6.30 pm in room G12. Read before class the material posted on the TWEN site for the Health Law Certificate Program.

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 2:45pm