10.14.2009

Students Extern at Largest Health Care Provider in Southeastern Virginia

Sentara Healthcare was founded in Norfolk, VA in 1888 and now is the largest integrated health care provider in southeastern Virginia and North Carolina, serving more than 2 million residents.

Still headquartered in Norfolk, Sentara often recruits Regent Law students for internships, externships, and possible job opportunities within the corporation.

Two students, Michael Deering (2L) and Erica Pero (3L), are currently enjoying the rigors of an externship with Sentara’s legal department. Both students praise the experience for adding to their studies a depth of skills not gained in the classroom.

“I was treated as a young attorney and was expected to produce results equivalent to the work of a young attorney,” said Deering of his externship experience. “The practice of law is not law school. The drudgery of reading for class and writing memos morphs into an excitement about producing the best work product possible.”

Pero agrees. “The legal department at Sentara Healthcare is a close knit group of fantastic attorneys,” she said. “I was treated as an equal from day one; I was given complex tasks that stretched my abilities and forced me to step outside my comfort zone.”

The students report to the entire legal department at Sentara’s corporate headquarters, but have also been privileged to work with corporate vice presidents and medical executives.

Pero deals with most of Sentara’s corporate matters: mergers, acquisitions, creation of corporate entities, contracts with employees, and tax issues. One of her major projects was to file a Hart-Scott-Rodino pre-merger notification report with the Federal Trade Commission in preparation for a major acquisition in northern Virginia.

Deering has also been involved in many different projects including corporate by-laws, trademark issues, home health and palliative care, and negotiations.

Their summer hours kept them busy full time, and this fall they’ll each work 180 hours to complete the externship credit. To Deering, it’s all time well spent.

“The work you produce with your hands and mind, the time you spend analyzing, researching, and communicating, all ultimately affect an individual either within the corporation or on the outside,” he said. “To me, there is no greater satisfaction than to know that my efforts, perseverance and diligence have helped someone in some way.”