One of the best investments you can make as a physician is to hire a physician contract lawyer. Employers think of themselves first when drafting physician contracts. The interests of physicians come in last. Physician contracts can be riddled with ambiguous legal jargon and low compensation terms. Physician contract lawyers ensure that legal contracts are advantageous to their clients. They help to draft, review and negotiate employment contracts. They can save you thousands of dollars.
Once you get the offer letter, don’t hire just any lawyer. A general business lawyer, no matter how good they are, may not be the best lawyer to review a medical contract. The healthcare industry is highly regulated and physician employment contracts are not your typical employment contracts. They have to follow specific legal requirements. In the same way, doctors specialize in different fields, lawyers also specialize in different legal fields. Physician contract attorneys specialize in reviewing employment contracts for physicians.
An experienced physician attorney will know a lot about the local health market. He will probably have dealt with your prospective employer and negotiated other physician contracts before. In this case, such a lawyer will know exactly what the employer can provide you. If you have questions about the employer like their reputation, such an attorney can answer these questions.
Most physician contracts have a two-week signing deadline. Therefore, the lawyer you find should be available immediately. Even before you enter the negotiation phase, you should already be shopping for a lawyer. Once you receive a job offer, they can immediately start reviewing the terms and negotiating with the healthcare provider.
Legal fees for physician contract lawyers can vary greatly depending on the fee arrangement. Some prefer to charge by the hour while others have a flat fee. Don’t let the billing method of the attorney worry you. It’s not an indication of the level of their expertise. The billing method however will impact the overall cost. The legal fees will also depend on what you want the lawyer to do. A lawyer who is just analyzing the contract to identify any traps will have lower legal fees. Most physicians however want the lawyer to also negotiate terms with the employer. This will mean slightly higher legal fees. It is important to find a lawyer who fits the budget you had set aside for the contract review.
As a physician, it is important to find a lawyer to review your employment contract. The lawyer will ensure that the contract has all the terms including compensation, obligations, benefits, and termination processes. He will negotiate for increased compensation, a better work schedule, and even student loan repayment. Engaging a lawyer who is familiar with the hospital offering the job can ease the process. You can find awesome physician contract lawyers by asking your friends and colleagues. You could also check out reviews online. Don’t try and do it yourself. You’re just setting yourself up for failure.
Naomi Olson is a CFP® (Certified Financial Planner). She has a severe phobia of bridges and dirty balance sheets. Her hobbies include blogging, meditation, and loving Bull Market (my dog).