Right now, I have a very active practice defending nurses, doctors, dentists and other health care professionals before the various Tennessee boards that regulate their license. It was a very different path that I took in defending health care professionals. I was thinking recently on how it all started.
Most lawyers really don’t know what area of practice they want to focus on when they start out. I started at a small firm and did what they told me. Mostly, it was criminal law, personal injury law, family law, and some other litigation type cases. After a couple of years, I started my own practice and focused on defending folks charged with a criminal charges. One day , I represented a dental hygienist in a felony drug charge here in Nashville,TN. We were successful in defending the charges and avoiding prison but I was ignorant of the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. The assistant district was trying to put her in prison so I was worried about that little problem. Now, I know I am keenly aware that what we do in the criminal case impacts their professional license. When defending a health care professional on criminal charges you must always be aware of the ramifications the criminal charge has on a person’s nursing or other professional license.
So, I got the call to help. I had never done anything like that. I told her to call the Nashville Bar Association referral number. No luck. She called me crying. Ethically, a lawyer can take a case if the lawyer will get up to speed on the subject matter. So I read the administrative procedures act and the Board of Dentistry rules. I accepted her case.
At the hearing the attorney for the board wanted to revoke her license. After her testimony, the board decided to place her license on probation as long as she followed the terms of her probation. I was able to save her license so she could work and earn a living.
Now, defending professional licenses is a huge part of my practice. I have defended cases before the medical examiners , board of law examiners, massage licensing examiners, chiropractic board, board of nursing, board of physicians assistants, emergency medical board and the board of dentistry. If you get a call from a health related board to give an interview, give our office a call. Don’t speak to any one from the Tennessee Board of Health without talking with a lawyer. You have a right to consult with an attorney and have the right to have the attorney at the interview. Now , I have years of experience in working with the health boards from summary suspensions , settlement agreements, and contested trials. Our office has the experience that makes a difference. It all started with that one case.