South Florida Hospital News
Sunday August 25, 2019

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August 2018 - Volume 15 - Issue 2




Nelson Mullins and Broad and Cassel Combine to Form New Super-Regional Law Firm

On August 1, the law firms, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, and Florida-based Broad and Cassel, combined to form the new law practice, Nelson Mullins Broad and Cassel. The new firm expands the depth and breadth of the legal services to its clients, and has more than 750 attorneys and professionals operating in 25 offices across 11 states and the District of Columbia. 

"By joining forces and by utilizing each other's strengths, we're able to provide even better services to our existing clients and potentially attract new clients because of the deeper and more significant expertise that the combined firm brings, that the separate firms do not independently have,” says Tom Moran, managing partner of Nelson Mullins’ Myrtle Beach officeand member of the firm’s Executive Committee.
Gabriel Imperato, managing partner of Broad and Cassel’s Fort Lauderdale office and member of the firm’s Management Committee, adds that it’s often difficult for law firms to find another firm to combine with.  

“I don't think it's a small accomplishment to find a partner to merge with, especially when we're talking about firms of our respective sizes,” he says. “It's complicated, it's challenging, it doesn't often work, or if it does work, it doesn't work well. But we felt like this was really a very good and fortunate combination that we were able to achieve.”
It took nearly three years for this deal to be completed, both attorneys noted.
“We were fortunate enough to connect with Nelson Mullins,” says Imperato. “We found that it was a good fit culturally, it was a good fit in terms of geographical location, good fit in practice areas, and it just worked. Broad and Cassel has had a great legacy in Florida, it's a strong player in the healthcare industry. We're now going from one and one is going to equal three.”
Moran points out that similar to the healthcare and the hospital industries, law firms are consolidating. From an economic and service perspective, the same factors which cause hospitals to consolidate are driving law firms towards consolidation. Those factors include economies of scale, more efficient operation, and ability to combine resources and provide more significant expertise across a broader continuum of services. Ultimately, the combined law firm’s client experience should be enhanced in the same manner that the consolidated hospital’s patient experience is being enhanced.
“In the same way, law firms do the same thing through economies of scale and being able to have deeper and wider benches to provide greater services for our clients,” he says. “Technology makes it possible as it does for hospitals to grow and to have multiple systems and multiple sites; technology has provided the same in the legal industry.”
According to the attorneys, some of the current legal services being sought in the healthcare sector, particularly in South Florida, are often related to operational services, healthcare privacy and security issues, and transactional matters.
Breach of privacy issues was one area where we had what was characterized as a basic expertise, but with Nelson Mullins now, we're pretty comfortable bringing to bear cyber security, privacy and security expertise,” says Imperato, who also adds “responding to enforcement actions or private contractor integrity matters has been, is, and will continue to be a demand in South Florida.”
“There’s also much more outreach for assisting in mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare space,” Imperato says. “We had somewhat of a capability in the transactional space there but now I am very comfortable advising clients that the combined firm can bring to bear on that experience a certain level of resources that probably aren't surpassed in many places or by any other firms.”
One big challenge for hospitals will continue to be the cost of providing services and the extra burden that hospitals are shouldering that were previously provided by small physician groups and closely held post-acute care providers. “Hospitals now are expected to be employers of physicians,” he explains. “It used to be the communities would have community physicians and other independent healthcare providers. Over the past 15 years, hospitals have had to take that role over as many private physicians no longer can afford to remain in private practice - and as the mindset of new doctors and physicians coming out of school have no interest in setting up an independent practice. They want to go to work directly for a hospital. That is an additional cost and burden on hospital systems that they didn't have before.”
Another challenge to keep an eye on is the integrative activity within hospital systems, which brings increased compliance risks.
“Hospitals and health systems were already a target for compliance risks and litigation before the integration activity,” says Imperato. “With this level of integration, where you bring in physicians under the tent, hospice providers, skilled nursing providers, home health providers, comes a whole array of compliance issues that are uniquely associated with those providers. That’s because they come into the organization and create that vicarious liability for hospital and health systems. It presents a compliance nightmare for compliance professionals trying to manage that risk in the hospital and health system space.”

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