Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz announced Thursday its hire of two lawyers from Greenspoon Marder, almost two years after a former South Florida boutique they worked at was absorbed by the firm.
Jodi Laurence, a Greenspoon Marder partner and former co-chair of the firm’s health law group, has joined Baker Donelson in Fort Lauderdale, along with associate Melissa Goldman. Both lawyers previously worked at the Florida Health Law Center, a five-lawyer firm that Laurence founded and which Greenspoon Marder absorbed in August 2016.
Baker Donelson will fold Laurence and Goldman into its 200-strong health law team, a practice known as the Baker Ober Health Law Group. The name stems from Baker Donelson’s merger with Baltimore-based Ober Kaler, a combination that was finalized on Jan. 1, 2017. Laurence said she pursued the opportunity at Baker Donelson because of the firm’s large, experienced group of lawyers dedicated to health law.
Many of those lawyers come from the legacy Ober Kaler firm, which had long drawn admiration from Laurence, who began looking for a way to work with the group after its deal with Baker Donelson and expansion in South Florida.
“I was a little bit of a groupie. I would read about them, follow them at conferences. I kind of approached them actually,” Laurence said.
At the Davie-based Florida Health Law Center, Laurence spent a decade steering a boutique until it was folded into a Big Law suitor in the fast-growing Greenspoon Marder. Laurence previously was a partner at Broad and Cassel, now poised to merge with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, before becoming general counsel for the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami and Radiology Corp. of America in Boca Raton.
In her practice, Laurence represents physicians, hospitals and other health care companies on transactions, contract negotiations and regulatory reviews. As a Baker Donelson partner, she will concentrate on regulatory issues, such as corporate compliance, fraud and abuse.
For her part, Goldman, who previously served as an associate general counsel and interim chief compliance officer for MDLive Inc., one the country’s largest telehealth providers, will advise clients at Baker Donelson on regulatory compliance within the digital realm, specifically matters covering telehealth, digital health and health care technology.
Of the five lawyers from Laurence’s Florida Health Law Center that joined Greenspoon Marder in 2016, only one remains at the firm in partner Lee Lasris, who serves as co-chair of the health law group. Former partner Karen Schapira left Greenspoon Marder last summer to start her own practice in Sunrise, Florida, while former Florida Health Law Center and Greenspoon Marder associates Lori Desnick and Sarah Warden have taken in-house jobs at the Lee Memorial Health System Foundation Inc. and Canon USA Inc., respectively.
Baker Donelson is the 57th largest firm in the country, according to The National Law Journal’s annual rankings of the 500-largest U.S. firms based on total head count. Baker Donelson had 727 lawyers last year, along with gross revenue of more than $392.1 million.
The Baker Ober Health Law Group, which is based in Washington, D.C., has lawyers in 10 states. The unit provides expertise in a range of areas, including health care policy, clinical laboratories, urgent care and compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.