Class of 2023: JD Health Law Grad Looks to Future Helping Improve U.S.’ Health Data Protection Legislation

April 25, 2023

“Some states have already passed bills to greatly increase health data protection and I would love to get involved in those changes, especially as they move out of state law and into the realm of federal law.”

Name: Brendan Cotta 
Hometown: San Diego, CA 
Degree: JD, Health Law Certificate  
Undergraduate Institution: San Diego State University 
Awards, Student Groups, Clinics, Journals, etc.: Managing Editor for the Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, President of the Jewish Law Student Association), SBA At-Large Delegate, Award for Outstanding Performance in Oral Advocacy 

What initially inspired you to get your Health Law certificate, and has that changed over the course of your studies? My background is in public health and clinical research administration.  I started taking health law classes to expand my understanding of those fields.  I was inspired to finish the certificate because it gave me something tangible to show future employers what area of law I’m interested in.  

Why did you choose University of Arizona Law? University of Arizona Law had great bar pass rates, it made sense financially, and every list I found said it was great for getting a practical legal education, which was important because I had no legal experience before school. I was also excited to be driving distance from my family in San Diego and to go to a school with such a strong sports culture!  

Why would you recommend the Health Law Certificate program? The program is well organized, the certificate requirements are clearly laid out, and it’s easy to fit the classes into your schedule.  It’s also a really unique program; I didn’t see a lot of health law opportunities like this in other law schools I applied to. 

What will you miss most about your time at University of Arizona Law? The community. I’ve loved my time with my classmates and the professors. Everyone is so supportive and truly wants to see everyone else succeed.  I intend to keep in touch as much as I can, but I’ll miss not all being in the same place and going through this experience together. 

What was your favorite experience or extracurricular activity, and why? I loved taking Basic Trial Advocacy.  The whole class was so fun and useful and doing the full trial at the end was a highlight of my time in school. 

What are you most proud of while at Arizona Law?  I feel like I participated in everything I wanted to do and didn’t miss any opportunities. I knew I only had three years to get as much out of this experience as I could and I’m proud I fit in so many interesting classes, extracurriculars, and social events. 

Are there any particular issues or causes within the legal system that you are passionate about or want to address in your career? I wrote my 2L journal article on data privacy laws and how they impact cancer research. In an increasingly data driven world, there’s a lot of room for improvement in the U.S.’ health data protection legislation.  Some states have already passed bills to greatly increase health data protection and I would love to get involved in those changes, especially as they move out of state law and into the realm of federal law. 

What are your future career plans? Right after graduation I’ll be at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith in Phoenix working primarily in their medical malpractice department. Long-term my plan is to end up practicing back in San Diego where my family is, ideally as in-house counsel for a healthcare company. 

Looking back on your experience, what would you have done differently or what advice would you give to your younger self? Read the Week-at-a-Glance! I missed some interesting guest speakers and helpful info sessions just because I didn’t take the time to look through those emails. 

Message for your fellow Class of 2023: Our time in school was different to say the least, but I can’t imagine a better group to go through it with!