Gregory Fosheim, JD, MPH
Practice Focus Area: Healthcare and Life Sciences
Office: Chicago, IL
Time at Firm: 2.5 years
What is your favorite part about practicing healthcare and/or life sciences law at McDermott?
There’s a reason why everyone answers this question with “the people.” The cadre of attorney and business professionals I have the privilege of working with every day is truly extraordinary, each of whom is exceedingly generous with their time and support, despite overwhelming workloads themselves. Everyone understands the healthcare and life sciences landscape and has an unapologetic passion toward doing impeccable work with the utmost professionalism and a healthy dose of humor and humility. It felt like I was given a parachute on my first day that allowed me to take leaps of faith to expand my practice into new areas of focus with the reassurance of a soft landing if I had any questions or challenges. Everyone is an integral member of the team and it shows.
What is the biggest opportunity and greatest challenge facing clients in your area of focus today?
We have an exhausted industry caring for an exhausted nation. The challenges today are the same challenges that the American healthcare system has had for decades: How to innovate? How to differentiate? How to collaborate? Now that we are more than a year into the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are at a new crossroads with new challenges. How to regain trust in science? How to stay one step ahead of nature’s response to innovation? How to continue empowering and caring for our front line workers? These challenges may require a return to fundamental principles of public health: access; quality; equity. By focusing on these three elements along with the modern American healthcare principles of innovation, differentiation and collaboration, we can emerge from the pandemic with an emphasis on returning the care to healthcare.
What kind of client work gets you most excited when it comes across your desk?
I really enjoy learning what clients are dreaming about for their communities and helping them to advance access, quality or equity through their day-to-day operations. Sometimes this involves a strategic transaction to add service lines. Sometimes it may involve revamping corporate governance to allow expansion into new geographies without tripping antitrust fault lines. And more recently, it has involved counseling clinical laboratories in how to expand their operations to provide COVID-19 testing. Having been a clinical laboratorian for nearly 10 years prior to legal practice, I will always make time for my fellow lab rats.
What is the proudest moment of your career to date?
I am 1-0 in my courtroom career. A pro bono client believed she was evicted from her apartment because she was HIV+. We discussed her case and her concerns and in conversation she conceded that her failue to pay rent was more likely the cause of her eviction than was discrimination, but she feared having an eviction on her rental history. I engaged in limited discovery, found some issues in her lease and the landlord’s record-keeping and filed a claim for wrongful eviction. With a few one-word answers to questions from the judge, we won our case, my client’s outstanding rent was waived and she was free to move on with her life without any negative hits on her rental history. Her relief was palpable as she hugged me with tears in her eyes. Access, quality and equity are not just healthcare principles and she reminded me of that fact.
What is your favorite decoration in your office?
It has been wonderful to have an elderly, snoring Siberian husky at my feet every day for the past year. He and his canine and feline siblings are certainly my favorite home office addition, but my favorite decorations are two-fold. One is an autographed photo of 1964 Olympic 10K Gold Medalist, Billy Mills, a Lakota hero from my home state of South Dakota that states, “Follow your dreams.” The other is graffiti-like artwork that my husband gave me that reads, “Do not think you can be brave with your life and your work and not disappoint anyone.” My animals and these treasures serve as daily reminders that legal practice is a privilege that not everyone can easily access, so I should focus on sharing my skills generously and equitably and without fear.