Esther Chang Weese
Practice Focus Area: Health
Office: Los Angeles
Years at Firm: 18 years
What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare law at McDermott?
Hands down – the people. I started at McDermott as a summer associate in 2002, and I tell potential recruits all the time that there is no other big law firm that I would rather practice at because of the team we’ve built at McDermott – the quality and the character of the people here are bar none. I also enjoy that I am still learning and being challenged, because at McDermott, we are advising clients who are on the cutting edge of innovation and change in the healthcare industry.
What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
Two thoughts on this: first, the pandemic accelerated the use of digital tools and we’re seeing some of our clients trying to figure out how to more effectively implement virtual care, get paid for it and grow their telehealth networks. Second, while we have seen continued physician group mergers and acquisitions, we are also seeing some pushback on these consolidation efforts by regulators. For example, here in California, Assembly Bill 1132 (initially introduced in February 2021) would have required California Attorney General review of certain healthcare provider transactions (including transactions involving medical groups) with a value of three million dollars or more. Although this Attorney General review portion of AB 1132 was recently removed, similar measures may emerge in the future, which may complicate future transactions for our clients.
What kind of client work gets you most excited when it comes across your desk?
I’m most excited when working with clients who are striving to change the healthcare industry for the better, whether it is by creating more efficient ways of delivering care through technology or building strategic and novel alliances with new partners.
What is the proudest moment of your career to date?
A few years ago, I got to help a pro bono client obtain asylum in the United States. Giving her the good news was one of the most memorable experiences of my career.
What is an interesting fact about yourself that others may not know?
I was a member of the first United States-Kyrgyzstan student cultural exchange program the summer after I graduated from high school. I spent most of my time in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan learning about the culture and history, and trying new foods. The highlight of the trip was spending my 18th birthday with my host family at a camp located in the mountain range between Kyrgyzstan and China, where I got to experience lots of homemade vodka (legally, of course, under Kyrgyz law).