C. Frederick Geilfuss II, partner at Foley & Lardner, has been at the forefront of change in health-care law throughout his nearly 40-year career.
Geilfuss joined the firm in 1983 and helped start its health-care law practice. The decades that followed brought the advent of HIPPA, fast expansion for hospitals and providers, the development of health systems and more.
“Health care has been a ‘me too’ kind of industry,” Geilfuss said. “Once a couple players start doing or trying something, it goes through the industry fairly quickly, so you have to stay on top of it.”
Geilfuss kept current on regulations and trends by doing a lot of reading and guiding his clients through difficult situations and the firm through complex and evolving matters.
Notably, he worked with Aurora Health Care through all the steps of its substantial expansion. The company went from having two hospitals with two employed physicians to being Wisconsin’s largest health system and then to one of the top-10 health systems in the U.S. after its merger with Advocate Health Care.
Foley experienced its own growth and success in health care over the years. The firm expanded its health-care practice nationally and is recognized as a Tier 1 health-care firm by U.S. World & News Report.
“It’s no surprise that one of Fred’s great satisfactions with his career is being able to be a part of an industry practice team from the start and watch it grow into a national practice that is highly respected by peers in the legal industry as well as the health care industry itself,” said Linda Benfield, managing partner of Foley’s Milwaukee office.
Geilfuss credits the firm’s support for its attorneys as a critical factor in the health-care group’s success. He said the attorneys work hard to understand their industry, its challenges and their clients.
“I’m proud of what Foley & Lardner’s health-care practice has grown to become,” Geilfuss said. “We have some terrific lawyers who are collegial and very talented, and they work hard to stay abreast of the issues and provide great service to clients.”
As he approaches 40 years in health-care law, Geilfuss encourages law students to consider making this sort of practice into a career too.
“It’s a great field,” Geilfuss said. “You’ll love the variety, but it requires you both to specialize in certain areas … (and) stay abreast of the whole industry to be an effective advocate for your client.”