Jaharis Health Law Institute Spotlight: Professor Wendy Netter Epstein, Faculty Director of JHLI

Professor Wendy Netter Epstein completed her undergraduate education at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where she was pre-med, majoring in political science. Prior to applying to medical school, Professor Epstein decided that she had stronger interests in the policy and legal questions in the health care field than she did in the practice of medicine. At this point, she went to receive her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she was President of the Harvard Law & Health Care Society and edited the Recent Developments Section of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. After clerking for a federal judge, Professor Epstein went on to work for Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, where she was a partner in the commercial litigation practice. In that capacity, she represented health industry clients like BlueCross BlueShield, Baxter, and Medtronic. In 2011, Professor Epstein transitioned to full-time academia.

Professor Epstein was drawn to DePaul in part because of its top-notch health law institute, fabulous students and colleagues, and its very strong reputation in the community. In regards to the Jaharis Health Law Institute, Professor Epstein is very proud of the work that has been done to update the health law curriculum to bring it in line with areas of growth in the field. She is also proud of the new degree offerings, such as the joint JD/LLM, which can be completed in three years, as well as the new Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) degree, which was designed for those who would benefit from education in health law but do not need a law license. Another development Professor Epstein is proud of is the Chicago Health Law Colloquium, which is a joint program with Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where world-renowned scholars are brought in to present their work to a combined group of students, faculty, and practitioners. Professor Epstein notes that no accomplishment is hers alone, and behind every success is a dedicated group of students, faculty, and administrators.

As Faculty Director of the Jaharis Health Law Institute, Professor Epstein works closely with the Executive Director, Professor Katherine Schostok. Together, they focus on student services, events and programming, alumni relations, and strategic initiatives. For the students, they advise and mentor on careers, course selection, and externships. Professors Epstein and Schostok work with the student board and journal members to plan the lecture series and symposium that take place throughout the school year. They also work with the Advisory Board to make sure the Jaharis Health Law Institute keeps on top of the ever-changing health law field, and to keep alumni apprised of the goings on at DePaul. Professors Epstein and Schostok are constantly working to explore new opportunities for students and the Institute through partnerships and collaborations. For instance, the Institute's Summer Scholars Program awards exceptional students with a scholarship to spend their summer working in the legal department of a health sector company or firm.

This past year, the Institute was awarded an endowment and has been renamed in the donors’ honor as the Mary and Michael Jaharis Health Law Institute. This endowment provides the Institute the support to expand and strengthen scholarly and educational programs in an area where two dynamic legal fields are increasingly intersecting—intellectual property and health law. This is an area of focus for both the short and long term of the Institute. Professor Epstein also mentions that the Institute is looking to draw upon and further expand its relationships with area hospitals. She would love to see the Institute take advantage of more opportunities to collaborate with other health professionals. This would mean additional collaboration within our own broader institution as well. Professor Epstein makes it her goal to support the students to help enrich their law school experiences and future careers. The students remain her number one priority. Professor Epstein sees the Jaharis Health Law Institute as a go-to source for cutting edge content and student talent in the future. She wants the institute to be both a thought leader and to train future industry thought leaders.

Students can get involved by attending the Jaharis Health Law Institute’s events and consider joining the student board. Professor Epstein recommends that students take advantage of leadership opportunities and connect with attorneys practicing in the field. She mentions that students should ask what opportunities exist to get published while still a student.

Alumni can be involved with the Health Law Institute by having a student as a mentee, volunteer to peer edit articles for the journal, help coach the health transactional moot court teams. The Institute is always looking for engaging speakers, and Professor Epstein suggests for alumni to reach out at any time if they are interested in doing so.

Professor Epstein views herself as very fortunate to have a robust and diverse list of faculty who teach courses in all areas of health law here at DePaul. The Institute is always looking to expand and update the offerings, as well as bringing in additional speakers and panelists for the spring symposium.

Professor Epstein mentions that students and alumni should be looking forward to the great programming coming up, particularly in the lunchtime CLE series and spring symposium hosted by the DePaul Journal of Health Care Law. In order to receive the latest information regarding the Mary and Michael Jaharis Health Law Institute, Professor Epstein suggests following the E-Pulse, liking the Institute on Facebook, and following the Institute on Twitter (@DePaul_HealthLaw​).

Kate Reynolds is currently a 2L at DePaul University College of Law. Ms. Reynolds completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois Springfield. Ms. Reynolds wishes to pursue a career in Health Law after graduating in May of 2017.​