Thomas Looks for Foothold in Health Care Law

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Finding a stress-free hobby during law school can be important.  Cleveland-Marshall College of Law 3L student Joy Thomas has found her pastime and better yet, is able to share it with her fellow classmates.  Thomas is an avid cook and baker and frequently hosts study groups at her downtown apartment or brings goodies to the law school to share. 

“It’s important when we’re not at the school to have some fun so I always have people over,” explained Thomas.  “I like to cook and bake as well as entertain so hosting people allows me to do both.”

It is no surprise that the sociable Thomas likes to entertain. Her friendly nature extends to the law school where she has been a teaching and research assistant to Professor Carolyn Broering-Jacobs for the past two years.  Her responsibilities include tutoring students in legal writing, citation, research and advocacy skills by holding office hours and one-on-one meetings.

“When Professor Broering-Jacobs asked me to be her tutor I took the position immediately because I knew I’d love it,” said Thomas.  “I’ve always tutored – from high school to college and now law school. It’s a rewarding experience plus it also helps me brush up on my legal writing skills, which everyone can use.”

While Thomas sounds like a future law professor in the making, academia is not on the radar of her career path for now.  The 3L student is currently finishing up her studies in the Health Law Certificate program at C|M|LAW and is looking to start her career in a law firm.  She could envision herself one day working at a hospital and serving on a medical ethics board. 

This career path was not the initial track for Thomas, a native of Rocky River, Ohio.  She attended Ohio State University where she started as a biology major planning on pursuing pre-medicine.  She altered that path to biomedical ethics after attending “one too many lab classes,” Thomas joked. 

For Thomas, or any law student interested in biomedical ethics, Cleveland is a great place to study.  The city is home to world-renowned health care centers such as the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital, and the Cleveland Medical Mart is scheduled to open in October 2013.  For the time being, Thomas is taking advantage of the resources in the thriving healthcare community as president of C|M|LAW’s Health Law Society.  The organization seeks to expose students to different legal career options within the health care industry and to provide a community service and social outlet for its membership.  Thomas has helped further this goal by planning law school events including a recent Health Law Panel and Career Fair where students had the opportunity to hear from and network with area professionals working in health law. 

C|M|LAW also offers students the opportunity to work at its Community Health Advocacy Law Clinic, and Thomas is taking advantage.  Under supervision of faculty, Thomas works with doctors, nurses, social workers and Legal Aid lawyers to address the legal issues of people relating to medical treatment.

“It’s a great opportunity to get real world experience working one-on-one with a client,” explained Thomas.

Thomas has also received valuable experience by externing with the United States District Court Northern District of Ohio for the Honorable Judge Donald C. Nugent and working as a law clerk at Ziccarelli & Martello Attorneys at Law.  Additionally, she has joined the C|M|LAW Moot Court team this year and the experience has really stood out for her.

“It’s great because it takes you out of your comfort zone but makes you more confident,” said Thomas about the team.  “It has enhanced my legal writing and oral advocacy skills. Joining has probably been the best decision I’ve made in law school.”

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