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Who’s Who at Hinckley Allen: Anne M. Murphy

Anne’s practice focuses on health care law. Her practice reflects over 30 years of combined experience in private practice, senior government positions, and general counsel roles. On behalf of clients operating or investing in the health care sector, she actively manages regulatory compliance issues, a wide range of transactional work, and projects in emerging areas such as telehealth and home-based care. Anne strives to help clients apply legal tools to influence strategy and operations by sparking honest conversation and collaborations that drive rapid transformation.

How did you get involved in or what led you to practicing health care law? 

I was very fortunate to attend the Boston University (BU) School of Law. I went there while health law was still an emerging field and, at that time, BU had one of the very few health law programs in the country. It was a strong program because it was a collaboration between the School of Medicine and the School of Law.

While in law school, I was invited to join the editorial board of the American Journal of Law & Medicine. As a requirement for this, I had to take an introductory health law course taught by a dynamic professor named Frances Miller, who had an infectious love of the topic. After that very first class, I called my mom and told her I knew what I wanted to do with my law degree. I am one of very few people of my vintage who came out of law school knowing I wanted to focus on health law.

What are the prominent trends in your industry right now?

It is difficult to overstate the impact that value-based purchasing is having on the health care delivery system. When combined with the rise of consumerism and the aging of the population, value-based purchasing is driving everything from the movement away from inpatient care in favor of ambulatory and home-based care, to the new emphasis on the role of social determinants of health. The result is a seismic shift in the way in which health care is organized and financed. In light of this, the system’s overarching goal is to deliver high quality health care in the most cost-effective way. As a health care attorney, I assist my clients in navigating this reorganization of the health care delivery system.

Additionally, the ways in which technology is transforming health care delivery are profound and all-encompassing. Today, big data impacts health care in a number of ways, including predictive data. Having access to big data and the technology to analyze it effectively is a very powerful tool that will affect health care delivery. In the context of an aging population and with industrywide aims to control cost and improve care, this is an exciting trend and one with which organizations of all types will need to contend.  Similarly, consumer-empowering health technology will continue to drive a trend in favor of personalized medicine and telehealth.

What’s the hardest or best lesson you’ve learned about practicing law?

With the experiences I have had advising governing boards and management teams, I now give a lot of thought to the best way to communicate important information, which can sometimes be rather technical in nature. I really try to tailor my message to the audience at hand. It’s important to always ask, “What does the client really need from my work?” Keeping this top of mind allows me to calibrate my work to my client’s needs. After all, clients oftentimes need more than counsel on a technical legal question. As attorneys, we must be technically rigorous. But we also need to take the time to understand the context and business realities in which our client’s legal and business needs arise. Of course, sometimes we need to give our clients advice they don’t want to hear, but it’s also our job to make sure their needs are met.

Given the challenges working in the health care industry, what makes it all worth it to you?

I’ve always considered it a privilege to work in health care law. The challenges are the privilege. If the work was not challenging, I would not enjoy it so much. The best part of my work day is getting calls from clients asking for my point of view about a particularly interesting or novel problem or issue. I just love the process of sinking my teeth into an assignment that challenges my thinking.

Health care law is not just one legal discipline; it is the representation of the entire industry. As a result, we have the obligation and the opportunity to understand a wide variety of laws that impact our clients. The interdisciplinary nature and complexity of it all is the great blessing of working in this space.

What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?

I’d tell myself to take the time to truly appreciate the fact that every single experience in my career provided me with valuable perspective for the future. 10 years ago, I was transitioning from government service to a partner position in a law firm. That government experience offered me valuable insights into how health care clients can best approach regulatory approval and enforcement matters in a constructive manner.

With the benefit of hindsight, I now see how fortunate I’ve been to see health care law from a unique array of perspectives. I’m more appreciative today of the value that has come with the various roles I’ve filled throughout my career. I’m lucky to have had, and learned from, that wide variety of experiences.

Who was the biggest influence in your career (mentor/teacher/relative) and why?

There are a great many people who have helped me over the years; I strive to return that support and collegiality. As the saying goes, it is a round world. It is important to pay it forward, and to be generous.

That said, my parents and my maternal grandmother are, without question, the biggest influences in my career. Not only did they inspire an enduring love of learning, but they gave me a strong moral compass. If you have that, you can navigate just about anything.

Who’s Who at Hinckley Allen is an interview series that highlights each attorney’s life experience and skills. Read more interviews here to discover how our attorneys are valued business partners who positively impact their clients businesses, and help to achieve their goals.

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