By Bert Black |
Minnesota Doctors about to take their first job or move to a new job typically have to sign an employment agreement that can run to ten or more single-spaced pages. In addition, there may be various exhibits and addenda, as well as references to things like bylaws, policies, rules, and practice standards. Sorting through this apparent legal morass may be something a physician should undertake with legal counsel. A lawyer can call attention to potentially problematic language, draft alternative contract language, or negotiate with the prospective employer or the employer’s counsel.
Employment Contracts for Doctors
The negotiating process reveals ambiguities and clarifies them, so both parties know exactly what they’re getting into. It also may reveal that an initially attractive-seeming deal in fact may not be so good. And when done right it allows the doctor to define, at least a little bit, what his or her work environment will be like.
To give a good real life example of beneficial contract negotiation, one woman about to take her first job after completing her residency was shocked to learn from her lawyer that the contract proposed by a prospective employer did not adequately cover paid maternity leave. The employer had never been forced to consider the issue before, and readily added the requested language. The doctor is still employed there, and the contract negotiation process clearly benefited both parties.
Thus can good employment attorney for physicians in Minneapolis lead to better contracts, but in working with a lawyer a doctor will be better off if she or he has some understanding of contract law and the sorts of contract provisions peculiar to employment in the medical profession. Like well-informed patients who don’t defer blindly to their doctors, knowledgeable legal clients tend to do better than those who don’t have an understanding of what’s at stake.
Subsequent blog posts on the Schaefer Halleen website will provide an introductory overview to help doctors work more effectively with their lawyers. These posts will cover:
- Contract law fundamentals and the basic provisions that appear in most physician contracts;
- The promises doctors are typically asked to make when they enter into a contract, and the kinds of benefits and compensation they typically receive in return;
- Provisions governing termination and severance pay;
- Malpractice insurance, non-compete and non-solicitation provisions, and confidentiality and intellectual property rights, and
- Other provisions, such as legal rights and remedies if disagreements arise