Covering corporate law departments and in-house attorneys for Texas Lawyer and other ALM publications, reporter Kristen Rasmussen profiles Deborah Gordon, executive vice president and chief legal officer at Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston. Memorial Hermann is one of the largest integrated health care delivery systems in Texas, with more than $5 billion in total operating annual revenue and more than 25,000 employees. It has 19 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient sites, a medical staff of more than 5,500 physicians, a nationally acclaimed Accountable Care Organization, a health plan and an academic affiliation with McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
The Memorial Hermann legal department is made up of 11 attorneys, two paralegals and four support staff members. The in-house attorneys conduct the vast majority of the system’s legal work. “We have a talented, experienced and innovative team that is well-equipped to manage most legal issues that arise,” Gordon said.
Hermann has used McDermott Will & Emery for large transactions and certain complex regulatory matters and Norton Rose Fulbright for public finance and litigation work. For major litigation, the department often turns to Beck Redden or Smyser Kaplan & Veselka. “We enlist the help of firms that are able to deliver the specialized level of expertise we need for the best value,” Gordon said. “We also always ensure that our outside counsel understands our system and shares our values.”
Gordon is responsible for planning, coordinating and overseeing all legal, compliance and risk management activities for the entire system. She represents Memorial Hermann and its affiliates in all interactions with the judicial system, an array of government agencies and other organizations regarding any and all complex legal matters. In addition, Gordon oversees other administrative functions of the organization and serves as a member of Memorial Hermann’s executive team, acting as a trusted voice on the system’s strategy and business operations. She regularly focuses on operations as well as key health policy initiatives and legislative matters that affect Memorial Hermann.
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Gordon holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, Illinois. She was at DLA Piper from 1995 to 2002, when she joined Seyfarth Shaw as a partner and served in leadership roles in the health law and corporate law departments. She joined Memorial Hermann in 2014.
Gordon is married and has two boys. She enjoys skiing and playing board games with her family.
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