Exploring Critical Business and Legal Issues across the Healthcare and Life Sciences Industries
Exploring Critical Business and Legal Issues across the Healthcare and Life Sciences Industries

5 Questions with a Health Lawyer: Steven J. Schnelle

By on September 17, 2020
Posted In Uncategorized

Steven J. Schnelle
Practice Focus Area: Healthcare
Office: New York
Years at Firm: 2.5 years

What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott?

Without a doubt, the people! Every day I have the pleasure and honor of working with brilliant and unique colleagues that recognize and appreciate one another’s contributions to our team, both personal and professional. And I’m not just talking about my colleagues with signatures bearing the McDermott logo—our clients are doing amazing things and give us the opportunity every day to engage creatively and collaboratively to make a difference. There’s nothing better than celebrating an achievement with people you care about!

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?

I think they’re one and the same—the dynamism of the healthcare system in the United States. With constantly evolving laws, regulations, interpretive guidance, enforcement priorities, judicial precedent, industry players and trends, there’s never a slow moment in healthcare. Companies that can anticipate and respond to these changes enjoy tremendous tailwinds, while those that become entrenched in the status quo stand to lose out. Our clients benefit from McDermott’s deep bench of accomplished healthcare attorneys who often play a central role in these changes, giving our teams highly developed insights as these changes happen.

What kind of client work gets you most excited when it comes across your desk?

Work that involves existential issues, or issues that implicate entire business lines, is particularly exciting for me because the significance of these matters is palpable. These kinds of issues arise in various contexts, although we often see them in government investigations relating to fundamental components of a company’s business model; new legislation, regulations or interpretive guidance with the potential to undermine entire revenue streams; and transactional diligence that uncovers issues requiring complex negotiations and recrafting the transaction structure. In these particularly high-stakes matters, our legal work often comes center stage, making the work itself pretty exciting.

What is the proudest moment of your career to date?

Whenever a client or colleague responds to my legal analysis with the word “perfect,” I can’t help but smile from the inside out! But really, the most deeply proud moments of my career have been in matters where all of my skills were challenged in a multi-disciplinary context involving attorneys across specialist areas and practice groups who came together to overcome significant challenges and achieve a superb result for a client. In those moments, the level of success is greater than a “perfect” analysis—that success arises when people from diverse backgrounds and talents come together in excellence to achieve a unified goal. In a way, I think that’s the true essence of practicing law at a law firm, and it requires more than just smarts: it is the culmination of a foundation of relationships built over time through mutual respect and encouragement.

What is your favorite decoration in your office?

Working from home during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order has certainly given me the opportunity to settle into my home office. I’ve taken over the top floor/converted attic of our house and made it as comfortable as can be with plants, a couple club chairs, bookshelves and of course a desk with double monitors. My favorite decoration is probably a huge spiky aloe plant that’s both impressive and intimidating sitting perched at the window. While the transition to 100% work from home has been smooth, I’m looking forward to returning to our office in Manhattan when it reopens and connecting with my colleagues again in person. Perhaps the spiky aloe will come along with me and find a new home looking out at the big city.

Click here to learn more about Steven’s practice.




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