Our coaching culture helps you navigate through legal compliance


Hello, this is Michael H. Cohen. Healthcare and FDA attorney and founder and president of the Cohen Healthcare Law Group.

I was just sitting in my car driving on the way of Veggie Grill, when I’m sitting outside the lovely Veggie Grill here in this beautiful San Diego, with its sunny weather, and I was thinking about, how do we compete with the large law firms? Because I’ve been doing some SEO for my website, and I noticed that a lot of niche areas that I had successfully penetrated and thought I was pioneering, some years ago, have now become very mainstream, and even the large big players, in big law, are going after these areas. Areas like digital health, mobile healthcare, telemedicine, mobile medical apps. There still are not a lot of lawyers who themselves combine both the healthcare law side and the FDA law side. So that in itself is unique.

An edge against the rest of them

And also I was thinking: how do we deal with these heavy players that say they do everything? And in fact they do. I mean, they have like 50 plus service lines. What’s our unique edge? Well, I’ve always felt an edge pretty naturally. I never had to define it, but since then growing my firm and scaling, just like you’re scaling your own company, I was thinking about, well, what makes us different? By the way, this is an unusual video because normally you’ll see me in a suit. You won’t see these glasses which have now turned dark, due to the sun. But hey, I’m still trustworthy and, I might need these to look at my notes. I think there are three things that set us apart. For one: we really, really listen to the clients and we also listened within.

            Listening is a lost art. Just, yesterday I talked to a client who had come to us from a big firm, where he had a very experienced FDA lawyer give them advice. Now, two things that the lawyer did. Number one, the lawyer said, “That’s ridiculous. The rule is X. You can’t do such and such.”

And instinctively that didn’t seem right to me. And when I did some research, in fact, the lawyer was unexpectedly categorical. Very few lawyers or that categorical. Most things simply aren’t that granularly black and white, and not that. So clearly, when they’re in the red zone, we tell the clients, “This is in the red zone.” We say, “More than gray area, but most often you’re in yellow.” And what you got to figure out is, do I press on the gas or do I brake? And there are a lot of factors that go into that kind of risk analysis.

The lawyer is very categorical and dismissive. And secondly, the big firm FDA lawyer didn’t listen. He just lectured and gave his spiel, and so the client didn’t feel listened to. We listen, and I listened very carefully. As you may know from other videos, I, myself have studied energy healing, taught bioethics, wrote an article on bioethics of compassion. I’ve done a lot of psychotherapy simply because I’ve been very into the journey of self-discovery. Psychological and spiritual as well as physical, through pushing the edges of fitness.

            We’re very into mind body spirit. That’s one of our special areas. Integrative medicine, functional medicine, the healthcare practice, and as well as cutting edge business technologies in healthcare. And we’re very into personal development and as such we attract that clientele. Sometimes people are all about the retainer. Sometimes they’re all about getting their venture financing and often times through these other dimensions as well.

We played that edge. We listen. So he liked having a healthcare lawyer who actually listened to his idea and followed him as he articulated the idea. Of course, we lead. As lawyers, we give advice. We are giving the benediction, if you will, the priestly benediction. I’m not going to do my Spock orthodox, my Spock rabbi imitation here, but we do give the benediction. We do to the blessing. We do save the law. Gives the, “Thou shalt.” Gives the, “Thou shall not.” And, “Here’s how you might proceed with these caveats.” And, with these safeguards in place so that we mitigate your compliance risk, your regulatory risk, your enforcement risk, your risk of downright being sued, whether by a competitor, by some plaintiff’s troll, or by someone unexpected.

That’s what we do. We listen.

I think that’s a differentiating edge, and we follow the inner logic of what the client’s trying to do so that we can be maximally supportive. There really is a ministry that really is a healing function. I’ve done another video on the integration of the mundane and the cosmic and that’s what we do.

We have high emotional intelligence, high spiritual intelligence, and we listen. And, that is extremely valuable, because when you listen, you can really give unparalleled advice. You can give unparalleled legal advice, because you deeply understand. We understand deeply what you are trying to accomplish. And we’re in service of that. We’re not here with braggadocio and arrogance and talking over you and showing you how smart we are. I know exactly which 22 CFR 101.320 ABC little three in the whole, three, two, one blast off, says. That’s not our style.

Secondly, I would say, we’re cost effectivewe are light and deployable. The focus is not so much on the cost savings. For sure we don’t have the overhead, the mahogany table, the marble floors, the clunky a structure of overbilling that a lot of large law firms have.

I would say, a couple of years ago, I’m not a military man, but I remember Rumsfeld talking about how the army of the future has to be light and deployable, and we’re dealing with technology. We just zip in and we parachute in. And we don’t have these clunky artillery pieces that you might’ve had 100 years ago. So we’re light deployable. We work in teams. You get a blended rate, and we really focused on giving you the best overall value.

My commitment to you is to give you three times the value as a firm, to what you pay in the retainer. We want you to give them value. Three to five is very modest. Sometimes people get a million-dollar insight or even build a 10 or 50 or $100 million business. It’s happened, with our clients, based on a nugget of advice. So we’re looking for those nuggets. We are digging, we are data mining through the intellectual database. We’re applying the best we can.

And that leads me to my third differentiator, which is we have depth as well as breadth. There are some lawyers out there, we say, “Chained to a desk.” An unfortunate metaphor, but that’s all they do, is they do something very specialized. So if I want to know, if I want the world’s expert on 21 CFR 101.321 ABC, little three in the hole, little two in the hole, three, two, one. Blast off at $1,000 an hour. And I need an hour of their time that may be a good cost-benefit analysis.

On the other hand, can that person’s seamlessly talk about a HIPAA, digital health, telemedicine, cross state legal issues, regulatory enforcement hazards, IP issues, corporate law, a panoply of Medicare issues, insurance issues, reimbursement, concierge practice, I mean, everything that intersects, in one legal consultation? We really strive to be specialists while at the same time we don’t lose our family practice, general medicine. And so, one or more of us might have different expertise in the present team configuration.

I focus more on prevention and compliance. We have an associate who’s very deep into privacy and security issues among other areas of expertise. We have a former prosecutor who can guide and advise on the compliance side. So we really bring this depth of expertise together, and we also bring in a breadth, where we can be a cross disciplinary, if you will, cross cutting and the issues, because if you take the water balloon and you push here, it pops there. I mean, you not only have to be lighten and deployable, but you have to be absolutely prepared for whatever’s going to come on the enemy terrain, if you will, of … Let’s reframe that. It’s friendly terrain, because we’re going to make it friendly. We’re going to make it a green grass that our clients can traverse so that they can get to the other side of the hedge, with respect to building their dream. This is their why. We empower and support that.

Our firm culture

So those are differentiators. Let me say that we have, if I had to pick one word to describe our firm culture, we have a coaching culture. We are constantly self-coaching, working towards self-development, self-improvement, whatever we can do better. We also have a coaching culture within the firm. I grew up in a very archaic structure, Wall Street law firm. We have people, by the way, the best of the best. I choose the best people. I select the best people. These are people that I like working with. I like them personally. They have an inner being that’s very alive. They really are, they’re nurturers. They are emotionally intelligent, spiritually intelligent, legal intelligent. They’re the best lawyers that you can get. I’m giving my thumbs up to the Veggie Grill guy. And I really believe that. I love working with these people. I think you’ll enjoy them as well.

So, our culture is to coach one another in a 360 degree way, and then constantly have training, self-improvement. It’s how we can do better as legal counsel. How we can stay sharp on the law, and how we can stay sharp, having great client relationships. That is what we bring to you. We want you to have blue skies, rainbows and unicorns, beautiful green, healthy vegetables.

So we can be traditional and conventional, and we can be very, very edgy at the same time.

We’re here for you. We really appreciate you. The more we help you, it’s a feedback loop. You’re helping us, and we grow our business by serving you. And so it truly is that model of servant-leadership. And this is what we aspire to. This is what we embody. This is why we say that our mission is, and our vision is that we provide legal strategies and solutions to businesses that accelerate health and healing. Namaste. Great day to you and now it’s time for some serious, a fake meat and vegetables, which I will consume, and then a work out, and onto some more good SEO. All right, we’ll talk to you soon. Michael H. Cohen, Cohen Healthcare Law Group.

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