Entrepreneurial Doctors Need Entrepreneurial Lawyers

Doctors and lawyers have not always been the best of friends. But, when it comes to creating value through the deployment of innovation, they need to bury the hatchet.

Doctors and lawyers have not always been the best of friends. But, when it comes to creating value through the deployment of innovation, they need to bury the hatchet. They need each other more than most think.

I've recently had the privilege of speaking to law school students at 2 top-tier law schools about the legal aspects of bioentrepreneurship. One was a health law class and the other a class in international intellectual property. The students were interested in biotechnology and, as you would expect in a tough legal job market, opportunities. Several were in the US studying on a student visa from countries around the world. Here were my takeaways:

1. The legal profession seems to have as much trouble finding people with an entrepreneurial mindset as the medical profession.

2. They like to play defense, when entrepreneurs need them to play offense.

3. They were unaware of the multiple legal skill sets involved in getting an idea to market, including international law, regulatory law, business law, securities law, international intellectual property law, and much more.

4. Students here on visas were concerned about US immigration and visa policies that would preclude them from staying in the US to pursue their careers.

5. Most seemed unaware of the complexities and unique challenges surrounding biomedical and health entrepreneurship.

6. Most seemed to be looking for security after school.

7. Several came from technical backgrounds, like engineering or healthcare.

8. Few seemed to have robust external connections outside their immediate circles.

9. Faculties are resistant to stepping outside their traditional comfort zones when it comes to participating in interdisciplinary programs.

10. The legal culture is undergoing the same shellshock as the medical culture in response to market and economic change.

Physician entrepreneurs need service providers with the right risk tolerance and personalities on their teams if they are to succeed. Law schools should rethink how they can transform into entrepreneurial institutions, creating graduates with entrepreneurial mindsets, like all other domains interested in contributing to the creation of entrepreneurial universities.