Health Law Program

Healthcare is growing to consume nearly a fifth of the United States economy.  It is one of the most highly-regulated industries and lawyers in this field are in growing demand.  The health law program at the James E. Rogers College of Law prepares students for work in this exciting field, including bioethics, health insurance reimbursements, medical malpractice, regulatory science, Medicare fraud, facility licensure, access to care, quality assurance/compliance, and public health regulation.


The core of the health law curriculum consists of four courses:

  • LAW 610 - Health Care Finance & Regulation
  • LAW 654/654A - Bioethics and Law
  • LAW 654B - Health Care Litigation: Representation of Individuals & Entities
  • LAW 608A - Public Health Law and Ethics 

In addition, there is a range of other valuable electives including disability law, insurance law, intellectual property, regulatory science colloquium, information privacy and others.  Students are also allowed to take a wide range of courses from other schools and departments in the world-class research university, including for example CPH 564 - Public Health Advocacy and MGMT 538 - Health Care Organization and Management.

Students completing the four core courses, along with six credits of electives and a substantial paper in the field, can earn a health law certificate.  This certificate recognizes students’ specialized training in this field.   


The health law program is led by John D. Lyons Professor of Law Roy Spece.  Professor Spece is a nationally-recognized expert in bioethics, medical malpractice, conflicts of interest, professional licensure, and litigation around medical products.   His experience includes work on the contaminated blood litigation, which affected thousands of patients.  His publications include Bioethics and Law:  Cases, Materials, and Problems (M. Shapiro, R. Spece, et al. eds., 2d ed., Thomson/West Publishing Company 2003); and Conflicts of Interest in Clinical Research and Practice (R. Spece, D. Shimm, and A. Buchanan eds., Oxford University Press 1996). He is a former chairman of the Law & Medicine Section of the American Association of Law Schools.

Professor and Associate Dean Christopher Robertson is an expert on conflicts of interest in health care, health insurance, and regulatory science.  His litigation experience has focused on high-stakes mass torts cases involving medical and scientific disputes.  He is the editor of two books, including Nudging Health: Behavioral Economics and Health Law (with Holly Fernandez Lynch and I. Glenn Cohen, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016).  Professor Robertson’s scholarly research has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, along with many peer-reviewed journals and law reviews.  He has received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and he also served the foundation as a methods core advisor.   He was the founding faculty member of the regulatory science initiative at the College.  Robertson is affiliated faculty with the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics, Harvard Law School.

The faculty is complemented by a world-class group of Professors of the Practice, including Tracy Nuckolls, who for years was the General Counsel for a major metropolitan hospital, a position that allowed him to develop a sophisticated knowledge about the entire range of health law transactions, including creation of institutional insurance companies.  Jill Cartwright, serves as corporate counsel at Ventana Medical Systems, part of Roche, a global pharmaceuticals company. She has also taught core classes in the program and advised substantial papers. 

The core faculty is complemented by a wide range of other professors that teach relevant courses, including:

  • Ellie Bublick (a leading scholar on tort law, who has also taught a course in “Poverty, Law, and Health”),
  • Jane Bambauer (a privacy law and First Amendment expert),
  • Derek Bambauer (technology and IP),and
  • Barak Orbach (antitrust).    

University of Arizona is also an excellent place to study health law, given that it has an academic hospital, a world-class research enterprise, and faculty in a wide range of disciplines.  For examples of faculty strength elsewhere in the University:  philosopher Michael Gill is a leading bioethicist; sociologist Robin Stryker is a leading scholar of law, science, and public health; and Leilia Barraza is an expert in law and public health.  The College has a very open policy for cross-registering for courses, across the University. 

Experiential Learning

Students have undertaken a wide range of health-related internships, including work with the general counsel’s office of the University’s academic medical center, the regulatory science initiative within the College, and the Tucson Family Advocacy Program, which collaborates with local physicians to provide health-enhancing legal solutions for their patients.  Working with Professors Spece and Robertson, students have also served on the hospital’s bioethics committee, co-authored papers, and performed grant-funded research.   Law students also participate in the Interprofessional Education Program (IPEP), training with graduate students from medicine, public health, nursing, and pharmacy in realistic simulations on topics including pandemic flu governance and disability law.