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VOL. 124 | NO. 168 | Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sanders Praises Bar Leadership Program

By Rebekah Hearn

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Craig P. Sanders

Craig P. Sanders, an associate at Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell PLC, recently graduated from the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Program, a six-month training program that equips attorneys with the vision and knowledge to become effective leaders in their profession and communities.

The class of 2009 included 35 lawyers from across Tennessee.

Sanders focuses his practice on representing professionals and the health care industry. He has handled medical malpractice cases throughout Tennessee and maintains a wide variety of cases in that area. His clients include physicians, dentists, nurses, hospitals, clinics and various other health care providers.

Sanders is admitted to practice before the Tennessee Supreme Court, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Sanders is a member of the Jackson-Madison County Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association and the Defense Research Institute. He serves on the board of directors for the Jackson-Madison County Bar Association and formerly was president of its Young Lawyers Division. He also is an adjunct faculty member at Union University in Jackson, where he teaches medical/legal concepts and medical ethics.

Position: Associate
Firm: Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell PLC
Basics: Sanders recently graduated from the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Program.

Q: What were some of the most beneficial aspects of the TBA Leadership Law Program for you?

A: The TBA Leadership Law Program allows you to meet notable people from across the state of Tennessee. Meeting lawyers from different areas of Tennessee who practice at the top of the profession was the most rewarding aspect to me. It is beneficial in practice to have such colleagues across the state. I also greatly enjoyed spending time with some of our legislators and members of the judiciary.

Q: What attracted you to practice primarily in the health care industry? Do you have a background in health care?

A: What attracted me most was the ability to serve a wide array of professionals who spend their time helping all of us live longer and healthier lives. It is refreshing to serve such clients. My wife, mother and sister-in-law all work in the health care industry. I respect the work that they do, as well as the people they work with.

Q: How do you best keep up with the changing terminology and products in the health care industry?

“Meeting lawyers from different areas of Tennessee who practice at the top of the profession was the most rewarding aspect to me. It is beneficial in practice to have such colleagues across the state.”
– Craig P. Sanders

A: I conduct a significant amount of research via the Internet. The Internet provides an array of medical dictionaries, medical journals and medical search engines. You can even watch various medical procedures online. I also have the benefit of utilizing my clients and other medical expert witnesses. My wife, who is a registered nurse, is a good resource as well. After awhile, medical terminology becomes familiar. You see the same terms over and over. Reading handwriting by medical professionals is often the more difficult part of chart review. The move to computer charting is remedying this issue.

Q: Is there any pending legislation (besides the possibility of federal health care) that is pertinent to the health care industry?

A: Bills regarding health care are discussed nearly every year at the state level. Most bills never develop enough support to become law. The most recent changes to medical malpractice law in Tennessee were amendments aimed at filtering out so-called frivolous lawsuits. Among other things, the amendments require plaintiffs who sue for medical malpractice to provide pre-suit notice of the lawsuit and to obtain a certificate of good faith from a medical expert demonstrating that the case has merit. Time will tell what impact these amendments will have on the number and strength of claims.

Q: What do you think are the most important concepts to consider in medical/legal ethics?

A: It is difficult to say what the most important concepts are; however, the concepts of privacy and autonomy would rank pretty high to most people. Issues that seem to make the most headlines are those regarding these areas. We have recently seen these concepts discussed in relation to the debate about national health care reform. Americans are very reluctant to compromise on issues impacting privacy and autonomy.

Q: Do you find it difficult to teach and practice law simultaneously?

A: The practice of law demands a significant amount of time. It would be extremely difficult to do both on a full-time basis. Fortunately, I only teach one or two classes per year. The fact that I teach classes that regard my work as a lawyer makes things much easier. I do not have to spend as much time in preparation as I otherwise would. I find that being a lawyer helps me to be a better teacher, and being a teacher helps me to be a better lawyer.

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