Expert Mentor Session Part 6: Do I Need a State-Specific Lawyer for My Business?

Expert Mentor Session Part 6: Do I Need a State-Specific Lawyer for My Business?

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[Sunny Smith]: Michael H. Cohen is the founder of Cohen Healthcare Law Group.

He’s a former professor at Harvard medical school and a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The author of over a hundred articles in law reviews and peer reviewed journals, as well as six books, including four published by an academic presses like Johns Hopkins University Press. Michael’s a thought leader who pioneers legal strategies and solutions for clients in traditional and emerging health and wellness markets. In doing so, he advises many physician clients in a variety of businesses and practices. Michael and his attorney team have a wide range of knowledge and he’s glad to have this chance to share some of it with us today.


Do we have to have a lawyer in our state so they would understand the state laws?

Do we need a specific lawyer to cover a specific niche?

[Michael H. Cohen]: Yeah. Well, healthcare law is very esoteric.

I’m a subspecialist so I recommend that obviously, if you have those questions. We also do a lot of business law.

Ancillary is incident to what we do. So you need business law advice. It’s just part of the work removed from everything we do. State law is complex.

I mean, we’re licensed by state. So it’s kind of a complex question, but then again, to me, if you’re going to litigate, you need someone with boots on the ground who’s licensed in your state. If you’re drafting a contract, probably is principles of general law, but sometimes people ask me very idiosyncratic questions like a question about a non-compete.

I might say, “Let’s get an hour of the person who knows non-compete laws of North Carolina.”

Because I don’t want to research that, I don’t want to take responsibility for it. And there are cases and it changes and I just don’t want to be on the hook for something like that.

But let’s say that you’re in some state and there’s nobody who knows anything about medical spots or something like that, I mean, or let’s say it’s federal law and somebody, let’s say that you’re a physician entrepreneur who also has an FDA, regulated line of cosmetics or nutraceuticals. So that’s federal law.

I’d feel totally comfortable handling. In general, you don’t want to have too many lawyers. I think a main lawyer is good. Sometimes you might need some other experts and their time can be used very valuably. Obviously, I think that with regard to products, I think sometimes I’ll go to WebMD and sometimes I’ll get a consult, it just depends.

But obviously we give professional advice because people need professional advice and that’s what we do. Having said that, things like incorporating, I mean, there are different views on that, but I think that there are some things that you can do that are more technical and a vendor can do, I would say, right? Just like they’re probably things that you can have vendors do, but those are not things that you would have NRN do, right? Because you have those lines as well.


  • I would definitely recommend. I needed direction regarding the FDA and how the rules would affect my business. Responsive, accessible, and knowledgeable.

    Richard Freedland
    Richard Freedland GRAMedical, CEO
  • Impressive credentials are only overshadowed by their clear awareness of practical strategies to help Physicians navigate modern healthcare and achieve successful outcomes.

    James Riviezzo
    James Riviezzo Practice On Your Terms

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