3L Spotlight: Kathleen Barrett

Kathleen Barrett graduated from DePaul University College of Law in May 2014. Kathleen plans to follow J.F.K.’s advice and “go to the moon.” Kathleen finds inspiration in one of J.F.K.’s famous speeches in which he says, “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”  She hopes to continue to challenge herself and pursue what challenges her, and let this guide her path.

Kathleen became interested in health care law while growing up. Her family is full of physicians and all of her dinner table conversations growing up were centered around medicine and the latest changes in the healthcare industry. She knew she didn’t want to become a physician, but she did want to help patients in the same way she saw her dad do every day. While at Northwestern University, she double-majored in Communications and Legal Studies, and after graduating began working at a medical malpractice law firm. Through these experiences she decided health law was the answer to her dilemma. Health law would be her way to help protect patients, like her dad did.

Kathleen currently works two jobs, one at the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) in Medical Prosecution and a medical malpractice plaintiff-side firm. She prefers the governmental work since she knows the decisions she makes protect the public in a broader sense, and thus sees it as more impactful work. Kathleen is drawn to her work with the IDFPR because she deals with doctors who are endangering lives in Chicago every day and works to prevent these practices. She has also worked at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in the General Counsel Division, the Cyber Privacy Project, and for Obama for American Presidential Campaign in the Compliance Division. Working with Obama for America even led to one of her favorite experiences in law school: hugging President Obama. The President also complemented her evidence book for how well-tabbed it was. Kathleen found this position when an alumni of DePaul came to the law school to find law students to work on the campaign.

Kathleen decided to come to DePaul because her younger sister went to the University for undergrad and she saw how wonderful the health law program is when she visited. Since enrolling, she has joined the Health Law Institute as a Fellow and has developed a close, mentor-relationship with Professor Katherine Schostok. Kathleen credits Professor Schostok as giving her instrumental guidance in figuring out her career and whether to go down the government or private practice track.

Kathleen has also been involved in the Women’s Bar Association, Illinois Association of Healthcare Attorneys, and the Illinois State Bar Association. She has found these organizations as invaluable resources for classes in finding articles on topics for classes. Kathleen’s favorite class so far has been “Healthcare: Fraud and Abuse” with Professor Schostok. It was her first class outside of the 1L bar courses to really get her excited about being a healthcare attorney again. She liked learning complicated statutes and applying what she learned to an interesting issue in healthcare law. For future healthcare students she suggests they also go to the moon and pursue something they find challenging.

In the coming months, Kathleen will be looking to continue working at the IDFPR. She would like to continue working in the government field for a few years and eventually end up in-house at a hospital, though she could end up running for office. Since she’s going to the moon, she doesn’t know exactly where she’ll end up.

We here at the E-Pulse wish Kathleen good luck on the upcoming bar exam and all the best in her future endeavors!