Zach Baumann is a current 3L at the University of Houston Law Center, focusing his studies on health law. “I’ve always been interested in how the government works, and [his decision to attend law school] was right around when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was being implemented. A lot of the classes at the time and cool political discussions were about the ACA, so that got me interested in the healthcare system.” His decision to attend the University of Houston Law Center was made for this very reason, as this school has a highly ranked health law program.
Now that Baumann is a law student, he has seen the value in career fairs such as the Lavender Law® Conference & Career Fair, as they provide a pathway to employment with firms and organizations that would otherwise be unavailable to him. “Health law is one of the really niche areas of law, in that a lot of the job market is made up by in-house [counsels] for hospitals and providers, but there are only a handful of law firms that actually deal with this on a large scale. This is why Lavender Law was so important to me, as none of these firms were doing interviews or were present at my school.”
His first time at Lavender Law®, he said, “[I was] pretty nervous, I hadn’t been around that many attorneys in the wild before…You were meeting people constantly, and they were all really passionate about the area of the law that they were presenting on.” Because of this, Baumann suggests that future participants at the Lavender Law® career fair come prepared with a game plan. He recommends that students and laterals prepare a list of firms and individuals they want to talk to, as well as the reasons why they want to specialize in a specific area of the law. He says that this will help recruiters have a better understanding of why you want to work for them, as well as that it helps participants be seen as more professional. While it is important to come prepared, Baumann also says that you can’t be prepared for everything, as some recruiters asked him unorthodox questions like, “What kind of fruit would you want to be?” These questions can tell recruiters several things, such as if you are a fast thinker who can be creative on the spot and help folks loosen up a bit to be more conversational.
When people ask where his interest in health care began, Baumann brings up a story from his youth. “When I was a kid I was in a really bad car accident, and I was out of school for about a year and a half. I remember it made a big impression on me as I was in and out of law offices and insurance providers, and I was prepped to testify to how my dad was driving. Something like this leaves a big impact on you, and I saw how the healthcare system has an outsized effect on people’s daily life.” Baumann’s early life story demonstrates his deep personal connection and passion for health law, and also shows that he is able to overcome adversity at a young age. These attributes are important to highlight with potential recruiters, as these skills can be easily applied in the workplace environment.
Despite his being nervous in the large and vibrant atmosphere of the conference, Lavender Law® helped Baumann find his summer internship with Bass, Berry & Sims PLC in Nashville. “It would have been impossible for me to break into this area of law if I didn’t have something like Lavender Law.” Baumann found that the office is a strong fit for him, as its lawyers represent large healthcare providers, and have a practice that encompasses everything from healthcare compliance to acquisitions across the industry. Baumann also loved the office culture and the importance placed on affinity groups and work life balance.
We at the LGBT Bar Association thank Baumann and the thousands of others who have joined us for our Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair. We relish in the opportunity to better prepare new lawyers and law students like him for a successful career. With the help of educated and compassionate attorneys entering the workplace, our movement to tear down the current systems of inequity and bolster our communities’ rights will be on solid ground for the challenging time we are in and for the years to come.