The following is an excerpt from Practice Perspectives: Vault's Guide to Legal Practice Areas.
Dana Dombey, Partner—Healthcare (2023)
A partner in McDermott’s industry-leading Healthcare Law practice, Dana represents private equity funds, founders and management teams of healthcare companies (including digital health and other emerging companies), and strategic investors nationwide in connection with a wide range of corporate, transactional, and regulatory matters. Her full-service capabilities and ability to provide seamless legal counsel on complex strategic and operational issues have created endless opportunities for the firm to partner with investors on transactions and to continue providing support beyond those transactions by representing newly acquired portfolio companies in their growth strategies.
Dana previously served as Practice Area Leader for McDermott’s Physician Practice Management Practice Area, a newly formed subgroup of the firm’s Healthcare Practice Group. Dana was recently appointed to lead McDermott’s Healthcare Private Equity Subgroup of the Healthcare Practice Group.
Previously, Dana served as a foreign law clerk for the Honorable Uzi Vogelman at the Supreme Court of Israel. While in law school, she served as a student attorney at the Harvard Transactional Law Clinics and as a law clerk at the University of Miami’s Office of the General Counsel. Dana was born and grew up in Caracas, Venezuela.
Describe your practice area and what it entails.
I handle complex transactional and healthcare regulatory matters, including private equity transactions. I also serve as outside general counsel to healthcare businesses, helping address all their legal needs.
What types of clients do you represent?
I have represented a wide range of clients, including private equity funds and their portfolio companies, healthcare business founders, and digital health and other emerging healthcare companies.
What types of cases/deals do you work on?
McDermott’s healthcare practice has given me the opportunity to work on a broad range of matters.
For example, I worked on a cross-border transaction combining a U.S.-based business and a European-based business to create the largest physician practice in the space worldwide, represented the company in connection with their U.S. legal needs for several years, and most recently worked with the company on its sale for upwards of $3 billion.
I was also on a team that helped a client prepare for a meeting with the federal government to discuss proposed changes to regulations and other support for innovation in the healthcare industry, with the goal of using technology and other innovation to expand access to care and improve outcomes.
How did you choose this practice area?
I was fortunate to be interviewed by a number of firms for a summer associate position. Walking out of my McDermott interview, I knew I wanted to start my career working with the attorneys I met that day. In addition to being smart and hardworking, they seemed to have a supportive, innovative, fun, and collaborative culture that I was eager to join.
If I had to start over, I would (once again) follow my instinct to work with the team where I expected to best fit in and find the most mentorship, training, and support.
What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?
Every day is different! I lead several teams, so I connect with them frequently to ensure we are working in the same direction. I also spend significant time advising clients on strategy regarding transaction structures and regulatory compliance matters, drafting and negotiating transaction documents, and overseeing due diligence and deal execution.
Finally, I spend a fair bit of time training and mentoring more junior attorneys—I would not be where I am without support from my mentors and if I can help others in their career development, I will always take the time to do so.
What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?
I recommend every law student expand their horizons by taking classes that interest them, and that will challenge their thinking and expand their horizons. Most skills will be learned on the job but having the ability to think critically and creatively is paramount to succeeding in practice.
Having a solid business foundation (basic tax, accounting) can be helpful when starting a transactional practice, and taking administrative law and healthcare (fraud and abuse, privacy) courses are helpful for a healthcare regulatory practice.
What do you like best about your practice area?
I enjoy every opportunity to work alongside clients to develop creative solutions to their challenges. I also love working in highly collaborative teams of colleagues (who are also friends) from whom I learn every day.
What misconceptions exist about your practice area?
That the scope of our practice is limited to providing substantive legal advice. Attorneys are most successful when they can understand their clients’ businesses, develop practical business sense, and become a “trusted advisor” by providing practical advice that takes into consideration the business needs, circumstances, risk tolerance, and available resources.
What is unique about your practice area at your firm?
McDermott is the preeminent healthcare law firm, which has allowed me to work on complex and sophisticated matters with the support of incredible subject matter experts. Whenever a novel issue arises, I am confident my team either has addressed it before or has the expertise to address it thoughtfully and efficiently. Further, because McDermott’s healthcare practice is defined by industry stakeholders as opposed to practice areas (transactional, regulatory, litigation), being part of the healthcare practice allows our attorneys to become very well rounded.
More importantly for me, McDermott supports associates in being innovative and entrepreneurial in their practices. Because our matters are staffed leanly and we expose junior associates to all aspects of our matters, they are given the opportunity to play key roles, offer substantive contributions, and advance as quickly as they are ready.
How do you see this practice area evolving in the future?
The healthcare industry will continue to evolve with the development of new technologies. Patients’ interaction with healthcare will look very different in a few years due to the explosion of new technologies. It is very exciting to be involved in the healthcare industry, especially as an attorney in a position to help (a) shape laws and regulations to better reflect the needs of patients and the industry’s evolution and (b) investors in the industry understand and adapt their investment strategy to evolution in the space.