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: Andrea-Gale Okoro

By on February 26, 2021
Posted In Uncategorized

Andrea-Gale Okoro
Practice Focus Area: Healthcare Transactions and Life Sciences
Office: Boston
Years at Firm: 3

What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott?
Prior to summering at McDermott, I interned at a firm client, who fondly recalled that McDermott gave prudent and practical advice. That has remained the case since I started working here and it’s one of my favorite aspects of McDermott. I really appreciate working with and being mentored by attorneys who are not only at the top of the market in terms of their healthcare legal expertise but, also provide clients with practical advice that doesn’t inappropriately push the envelope. McDermott healthcare attorneys do a remarkable job of being bold and creative, but not unnecessarily exposing our clients to risk.

What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
It’s well-known that healthcare services in this county are becoming unsustainably costly for consumers and providers alike. This is due, in part, because of the squeeze on supply and rampant inefficiencies. Because of this, stakeholders across the healthcare space – and even outside of the healthcare space – are constantly seeking ways to provide efficient, high-quality care. I see clients feel the pressure to collaborate with and/or acquire providers in order to reduce overhead costs, secure better reimbursement rates, and stay competitive. These factors have driven rapid consolidation in the market and clients are finding they need to be more flexible and innovative to continue building the partnerships that will yield the lower costs and higher quality of care stakeholders are looking for.

What kind of client work gets you most excited when it comes across your desk?
I really enjoy helping clients operationalize the advice we give them, such as when we work with clients new to the healthcare space or clients who are trying something truly novel. In these types of Collaborative Transformation matters, clients not only need us to analyze any potential legal issues and propose a solution, but also want us to give them a roadmap for actually implementing our advice, be that drafting policies and procedures for a new service, or putting together a PowerPoint explaining who in the organization should be charged with what tasks. Every lawyer should be thinking about the practicality of their advice, and these exercises really hone that skill.

What is the proudest moment of your career to date?
In 2019, I took on a pro bono litigation matter with a colleague in our trial practice, despite having little interest in litigation and almost no recollection of civil procedure. Our clients were sued in their capacity as board members of a nonprofit that helped disabled Bostonians live independently. While I went into the representation thinking I brought little to the table, my knowledge of administrative law and nonprofit law stemming from being a health lawyer was actually instrumental in ultimately securing a dismissal of the case against our clients. I was able to quickly point to state law that shielded volunteer nonprofit board members from liability in this case and prove that the plaintiff had no claims under the state whistleblower law because the law only applied to state agencies, which was a great feeling.

If you were not a lawyer, what career would you pursue?
Probably a novelist. I used to write comics and short screenplays when I was younger and still write stories in my spare time. I’ve always enjoyed writing and bringing stories to life for others, and that’s actually what drew me to the transactional side of the law. Surprisingly, drafting a contract is very similar to writing a story. You have to establish the bounds of your universe, which you do through the recitals and the representations and warranties. Then, you weave a plot with a certain goal in mind, using all the covenants for the parties. All the while, you’re envisioning the various obstacles your characters (the parties) might encounter while fulfilling those covenants, and devising how they will navigate – and hopefully overcome – these challenges. As logical as contracts should be, it’s really quite an art.

Click here to learn more about Andrea’s practice.




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