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April 2, 2014

Second-year student externing with Legacy Health

Karen Anderson explores interest in health law

Karen Anderson, second-year law student at Oregon Law, is currently carrying out an externship with Legacy Health.

Anderson's current responsibilities at Legacy Health include a combination of researching questions, providing background information on changes in relevant laws, and revising and redrafting contracts such as leases and purchase agreements. As her externship continues, she continues to expand her knowledge on contract negotiation and litigation management.

Anderson graduated in 2008 from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. She earned her bachelor's degree in biology, with minors in biochemistry and French. As an undergraduate, she had the opportunity to work with two laboratories that furthered her interest in research, both focusing on aspects of DNA replication. In 2006, Anderson worked in Dr. Anja Bielinski's biochemistry lab at the University of Minnesota, and from 2007 to 2008 she participated in research in Dr. Stephen Dunaway's genetics lab at Drew University. Prior to studying at Oregon Law, she broadened her experience with pharmaceutical products by working through Pace Laboratories on-site at 3M in Maplewood, Minnesota.

Anderson's interest in health law was impacted by her background in biology and science, a bio-medical ethics course as an undergraduate, and a health law course taken at Oregon Law taught by Professor Paul Frisch.

"In Health Law this past fall, the class explored several substantive areas of health law, including an extensive review of the Affordable Care Act," said Anderson. "In addition, Professor Frisch advised me on some opportunities in health law and different ways to break into the health law field. With his advice, as well as the help of Sarah Bannister in the law school career center, I was able to find and apply for this externship."

Externships are invaluable experiences for law students; they provide practical experience with first-hand insight. They give students context about the particular field of study they are pursuing, as well as understanding of real-life challenges and the structure of a typical workday or week. Externships offer many benefits such as professional networking, mentoring relationships, informational interviewing, alumni connections, and in some cases may even lead to job opportunities.

"Besides cementing for me that health law is something that I'm very interested in, and would very much like to pursue a career in, this externship has shown me how much more is available to attorneys outside of litigation and large firm work… there's a difference between being aware of the options and experiencing them firsthand," said Anderson.

The externship with Legacy health has combined Anderson's interests of science, health, and the law. Attending law school has offered Anderson, as well as other students, many opportunities to explore the professional world through connections made through Oregon Law. "I would encourage all of my fellow students to take advantage of this or some of the other externship programs UO offers," said Anderson.

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