When Nick Gex began his externship in the legal department of Roper St. Francis this summer, he quickly realized how closely his work would involve the intersection between medicine and the law.
“One of my first assignments was to look at the medical and legal issues regarding testing employees not involved in patient care for TB,” Gex explained. “To me, the project illustrated the unique aspects of my externship.”
Roper St. Francis is a Charleston based private, not-for-profit hospital system that is anchored by three hospitals and includes more than 90 facilities and doctors’ offices. Gex has the opportunity to work with five in-house attorneys with diverse practice areas. In addition to addressing scientific issues, medical ethics, and health care regulatory compliance, the attorneys also work with contracts and other business law issues, employment law, and workers’ compensation law.
An important part of an in-house attorney’s job is to know the client and Gex has enjoyed observing members of the legal department interact with physicians. “The physicians will have ideas about how something can be done better and then pass them on to the legal department. There is camaraderie between the physicians, nurses and the legal department,” Gex said.
“It has been interesting to see the different dynamic of working for one client compared to working at a law firm. I also have learned how in-house counsel works with outside counsel when cases go to court,” Gex said.
For Gex, who hopes to work in health care or business law, the externship is a perfect fit.
“I have sat in on board of directors meetings to get the big picture as well as small committee meetings to understand specific issues. They really try to expose you to a lot of different areas to give you the best practical experience,” Gex said.
Gex is a native of Mount Pleasant, S.C. and graduated from the Clemson University before attending the Charleston School of Law. He will graduate in December 2015 with his JD from the Charleston School of Law and his MBA from the College of Charleston through the dual-degree program.
The Charleston School of Law’s externship program allows students to gain practical work experience while earning course credit. Students complement their classroom studies by working under the direct supervision of members of the judiciary or attorneys in the public or nonprofit sectors. Since the fall of 2006, Charleston School of Law students have completed over 105,452 externship hours. For more information please contact Professor James Klein or Autumn Jones.
Story and photo by: Michelle Condon