INTERVIEW: LESLIE (SCHOECK) CUMBER (JHU ’08), HEALTH CARE ATTORNEY, GORDON FEINBLATT LLC
Leslie (Schoeck) Cumber grew up in western Maryland. At Hopkins, she majored in German and Romance Languages, with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Management. She was a recipient of the Hodson Trust Scholarship award. Outside of academics, Leslie was the Phi Mu president and the Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium finance chair. She graduated in 2008.
After graduation, Leslie joined Teach For America in the Metro D.C. Region, where she taught first grade for two years. She then went to law school in London at King’s College London, and received her Master of Laws (LL.M.) from UCLA School of Law. Leslie was a law clerk during her time at UCLA, and after moving back to Maryland, she was an intern for Judge McDonald on the Maryland Court of Appeals. In 2015, Leslie joined Gordon Feinblatt LLC as an associate in the firm’s health care practice.
Describe a day in the life of a Health Care Attorney.
No two days are the same. I usually start my day by prioritizing what I have on my desk. I will inevitably receive calls and/or emails that cause me to shift my focus throughout the day to accommodate urgent requests, but I always like to start the day with a general idea of what needs to get done and when.
In terms of the types of assignments I work on, they run the gamut. I review and draft professional services agreements. I give advice regarding business organization and regulatory compliance. I have been involved in several acquisitions and certificate of need applications. And, as a result of the increase in Medicare and Medicaid audit activity, I have been providing quite a bit of guidance lately for physicians and physician groups under review.
What initially attracted you to this field? What are some of the rewards of this area of law and the legal profession?
I had no idea I’d end up in health care, but I’m so glad I did. It is a complex area of the law, and also an area that is constantly evolving, so it keeps me on my toes.
Furthermore, our clients come to us with ideas, questions, problems, etc. and we help them get to where they want to be. We are essentially problem-solvers. When I was in law school I set up as many informational interviews as possible to learn what people liked and disliked about their chosen field. The one recurring theme that I heard over and over again was that transactional attorneys tend to have very positive interactions with clients. I think this stems from the fact that as problem-solvers, we are adding value to our clients’ businesses.
How would you compare the reality of your profession to the picture you had of it before entering and while in law school?
I have quite a few lawyers in my family, and had quite a few friends ahead of me who were lawyers, so I felt like the picture I had during law school was fairly accurate.
Talk to as many lawyers as you can before and after making the decision to go to law school. Ask relatives, friends, friends of friends, etc. for a few minutes of their time to learn about what they do. Once you start interviewing at firms, take in the culture. You’d be surprised what you can learn if you look around. There are firms that actually have open door, collegial cultures. You’ll quickly learn which firms are which, and where you feel comfortable.
Do you have any advice for an undergraduate interested in pursuing this body of law and the legal profession?
If you’re thinking about health care law, you should explore relevant course work in law school. The learning curve is steep, so do your best to get ahead.
With that said, take every opportunity you can to explore all areas to see what you find the most exciting. Law is a grueling profession, so make sure you end up practicing in an area that you love.
Leslie is happy to speak to students; you can reach her by phone at 410.576.4248.Tags: 2017, Newsletter, November, Prelaw