In some ways, Sarah Bailey and Krystyna Dereszowska could be mistaken for psychic twins.
Each received her bachelor’s degree in English from one of Philadelphia’s most elite academic institutions. Bailey majored in English at Bryn Mawr, while Dereszowska received her English degree at the University of Pennsylvania.
Both developed a fascination with health care while deciding to forego medical school.
And both gained post-graduate experiences that led them directly to Drexel Law’s Health Law Program in 2011.
Before law school, Bailey had worked for the New York City Bar Association and then took a job as a clinical research coordinator at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dereszowska ventured to Baltimore, earning a master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Both were members of a three-woman team, along with classmate Elissa Boody, that won second place in the University of Maryland’s 3rd Annual Health Law Competition.
There, the similarities begin to diverge, however slightly. Bailey became an editor of the Drexel Law Review. Dereszowska accepted an invitation from Professor Rob Field to contribute to his Philadelphia Inquirer blog, “The Field Clinic."
Bailey gained an immersion in litigation through her co-op placement at White & Williams, where she worked in the firm’s Health Care Litigation Group. The firm gave her a taste of the realities of representing health care facilities, doctors and med-mal defense, by requiring her to tally her hours, as if they were billable. The experience helped her quickly grasp the diverse roles of partners, junior and senior associates and paralegals.
“I was nervous at first, but it worked out just fine,” Bailey says. “Fine” might be considered an understatement, since Bailey was invited to join the firm as an associate in the Health Care Litigation Group.
Dereszowska, by contrast, was drawn to work as in-house counsel.
“I like having one client,” she says, having gained invaluable experience doing just that while completing a co-op placement at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. There, she was able to focus on the regulatory side of health law. It gave her a different perspective on regulations than the one she’d gained during an internship at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, during her 1L summer. There, she got a chance to actually draft regulations in addition to conducting novel research involving a discrimination statute and the ways it could affect immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally and need medical care.
Like her classmate, Dereszowska also landed a plum position as a health law fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Office of the General Counsel.
Both are staunch fans of the Health Law Program, which Bailey describes as “an underutilized but huge asset to the law school.”
Other law schools that allow students to specialize in health law don’t offer Drexel Law’s range of elective courses, taught by experienced and accomplished adjunct professors, Dereszowska says, while Bailey nods in agreement.
Only time will tell if their professional pathways will continue to follow the same muse.