Point-Counterpoint on Medical Malpractice Litigation
ATLANTA – This April, the Student Health Law Association (SHLA) invited pre-eminent Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys R. Clay Milling of Henry Spiegel Milling, LLP and Paul Weathington of Weathington Smith, P.C. for a face-off, sharing stories from the medical malpractice trenches.
Milling provided the perspective of a plaintiff’s attorney. After beginning his legal career with a focus on complex medical malpractice cases, he now concentrates on representing individuals and families in catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases. Weathington shared a defense counsel’s perspective, having over twenty years of trial experience defending physicians and hospitals in medical malpractice cases.
The speakers discussed how to transition to legal practice after law school. “Don’t shy away from whatever work comes your way right after law school,” advised Weathington. “Get into court. When you get into court, no matter what types of cases you handle, you develop skills that are translatable to what you eventually want to pursue.”
The speakers also addressed identifying expert witnesses and coping with widespread misunderstanding by the public of the legal profession. “Understanding when to take a case or not is an important skill to hone,” Milling observed. “You have to really listen to the potential client and ferret out whether it is a true instance where malpractice has occurred or whether there was just a bad outcome for the patient.”
Students appreciated seeing these litigators interact positively and light-heartedly with each other. “Some things cannot fully be taught in a classroom – professionalism, camaraderie, and humor are three of those lessons,” explained SHLA president Gregory Fosheim (J.D. ’14). “Our speakers gave a master class in loving what you do and doing it well.”
Stacie Kershner, JD
Center for Law, Health & Society