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Name and title: Clinton D. Hermes, senior vice president and general counsel. Age: “In my 30s.” Childhood cancer center: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital of Memphis, Tenn., is one of the premier centers for the treatment of catastrophic diseases in children. It is the world’s largest pediatric cancer research facility, based on the number of patients enrolled in protocols and successfully treated, and the second-largest health care charity in the United States. St. Jude’s clinical research areas include gene therapy, bone marrow transplants and genetic immune defects. It sits on the cutting edge of pediatric and adolescent radiation therapy. It treats pediatric AIDS patients and combats the psychological effects of devastating illnesses. The hospital’s efforts have contributed to the surge in survival rates for childhood cancers from 20 percent to 70 percent. The center sees 4,900 patients yearly. Families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. The hospital, founded by entertainer Danny Thomas in 1962, employs 3,329. Eighty-five cents of every dollar received supports research and treatment. Operating costs approach $1.3 million per day. It is named for St. Jude Thaddaeus, patron saint of desperate causes. Legal team and outside counsel: Along with Hermes, four full-time equivalent lawyers staff the law department. The hospital’s fundraising arm has its own legal staff. Hermes retains outside counsel for a full spectrum of issues, including intellectual property, tax and “infrequent” litigation. Health care in the United States is “the most regulated industry in the world,” he said, so he seeks outside firms with special expertise in the field. Among those he turns to are Sidley Austin; Boston-based Ropes & Gray; Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz; and the Nashville, Tenn., firms Bass, Berry & Sims and Boult, Cummings, Conners & Berry. Hermes reports to Chief Executive Officer William E. Evans, and “on the dotted line” to the hospital’s board. Daily duties: Painting his typical workday in broad strokes, Hermes said that he spends 70 percent of his time in meetings. He and his colleagues then act on the items generated in the sessions. Hermes has evolved into more of a generalist since his days in private practice, joking that “an in-house health care lawyer is a mile wide and one-inch deep.” His duties include a “refreshing” mix of business and law. He negotiates with insurance companies and does some contract work with doctors. He noted that in Tennessee, hospitals are permitted to employ physicians, as opposed to having doctors act as private corporations. Hermes “absolutely” is involved in the liability concerns of clinical trials, and is a published expert on the legal and ethical issues entailed in pediatric research using human subjects. His job touches on regulatory affairs, and a government affairs group reports to him on lobbying activities. Other responsibilities: Hermes has a hand in the legal aspects of relationships the hospital has with counterparts in Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana and Tennessee. These arrangements make St. Jude protocols available to children who need care closer to their homes. In turn, St. Jude benefits from the complementary capabilities of the affiliated medical centers. St. Jude operates an international outreach program, with the ultimate goal of elevating overseas cure rates to meet Western standards. For example, it provides medical staffs, training and equipment in Santiago, Chile. Hermes maintains a sense of how legal systems differ from country to country. Foreign labor laws, he said, can be particularly tricky. He tries to anticipate what might be a “hot button” issue abroad. Intensive regulation: Hermes interacts with regulators “all the time,” many of them from subagencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These include Medicare, Medicaid, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the HHS Office of Human Research, which sets the ethical standards for the field. St. Jude is a member of the Avian Flu Global Surveillance program under the auspices of the NIH and CDC. St. Jude’s revenues are exempt from taxation due to its not-for-profit Section 501(c)(3) status. Hermes helps prepare annual filings for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service, providing evidence of the hospital’s charitable programs and their benefit to the community. St. Jude adheres to “Sarbanes-Oxleylike” compliance standards for nonprofits, including having an independent audit committee. Route to present position: Hermes’ route to St. Jude “was pretty simple.” He completed his undergraduate studies at Yale University and earned his law degree from Harvard Law School. He joined Ropes & Gray’s home office in Boston. (He described the city, with its multitude of world-class medical facilities, as a historically great health care market.) The health care regulatory realm became his speciality. He transferred to Ropes & Gray’s New York office, shifting his focus to international law on the health and public policy side. St. Jude “quickly became one of my favorite clients.” Good cause: Hermes’ personal pro bono project is rounding up volunteers to provide free mental health services and counseling to the families of military reservists and other veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Veterans’ families often are overlooked, and Veterans Administration hospitals lack the capacity to deal with the serious psychological consequences faced by soldiers and their kin. Hermes on occasion deals with celebrities in the hospital’s various fundraising endeavors, while trying to make the process less disruptive for the hospital and its patients. He ensures that the patients’ rights to privacy and dignity are respected, as well. Personal: Hermes was born in Wauwatosa, Wis., but speaks with a trace of Louisiana and Alabama, where he grew up. He fills his spare moments with reading, traveling, martial arts and running through the woods with his dog. Hermes has three bits of advice for any would-be successor: “You can’t be too prepared for the complexity of navigating an institution and its board; stick to your convictions; and don’t eye my job anytime soon.” Last book and movie: “When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa,” by Peter Godwin; and “No Country for Old Men.”

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