Wajiha Kazmi ’19 became familiar with health law during her time completing her J.D. at Albany Law School.
It captured her interest so much, she’s now returning to earn an LL.M in Health Law and Compliance.
She’s balancing the program and her full-time role as in-house counsel for the Rutland Regional Medical Center. Her busy schedule is showing immediate payoff though.
“I started in March. It’s been really great because it's kind of like you work at your own pace. Of course, the deadlines are there, but you can work with that because you know them in advance and it doesn't conflict at all with my work schedule. So, it enables me to do what I'm supposed to do for school without compromising work. So that's been really great. And the substance of the courses has been extremely relevant and helpful for work too,” she said.
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While earning her J.D., Kazmi completed internships with the state Department of Health, St. Peter’s Health Partners, and Hometown Health Centers. The external work and her health law degree concentration sealed the deal for the type of law she’s passionate about.
“After I graduated with my J.D., I said, “I actually want to go for another degree." I thought it might be a good addition,” she said. “I already had my mind made up in terms of the direction that I want to go with my career and working for a hospital, being in-house counsel, then hopefully, eventually, a general counsel with years of experience. So, this degree just made sense for me to start that journey.”
Growing up with several family members in the medical or pharmaceutical fields, she took interest in something else—law.
“I think the idea that I had about lawyers when I was younger was that they help people in different ways. I knew a lot about doctors and how they help with your health. I really liked the practicality of being a lawyer and making people's or organizations' lives easier,” she said. “As I was going through law school, I realized being a litigator or in a courtroom setting wasn’t for me. So, being a regulatory attorney for a hospital is the perfect balance, because it kind of allows me to be in that healthcare setting while doing what I like, which is policy work, making sure that everybody is doing what they're supposed to, according to the laws. As long as the organization's running properly, people are able to receive the care that they need.”
In her current role, she handles regulatory requests and questions day-to-day. On the larger scale, she reviews policy, conducts research, and gives oversight to hospital boards and projects surrounding ethics, consent, and patient rights.
“I really like the work. It is a lot of policy work and making sure the hospital's operations are running and everyone's doing what they're supposed to. I really like the culture of a hospital setting,” she said. “This degree will be a great addition as I continue with my career, ideally in the health law space.”
Kazmi will complete her LL.M. in May. Though it’s a lot to balance right now, earning an LL.M. has been a great decision to get into the details of health law and fit it into her busy schedule.
“I knew some times of my work week would be super busy and I wouldn't be able to get to the course and meet those deadlines. So, it was nice to be able to know that in advance and do the work in advance. I can also work ahead when I can or when I need to,” she said. “The flexibility has been so helpful.”
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