Laurie: Welcome to another episode of Inspiring Women, and today we are speaking with Carrie Valiant. She is an attorney with Epstein Becker Green. She's a member of the firm in the healthcare and the life sciences practice out of Washington, DC. Carrie has been with the firm since the beginning actually, and she does many things with Epstein Becker Green. She importantly she is the chair of the firm’s Diversity and Professional Development Committee. Over her career she's done a lot of work in the area of healthcare fraud … she writes and lectures extensively in this specific area … she's well recognized as an important and accomplished healthcare expert lawyer, being recognized by her peers, being recognized as Washington DC Super Lawyer, some of the Best Lawyers in America, the Legal 500 in the united States, and many other awards over her tenure. Now, she has a degree from State University of New York, her law degree from George Washington University and she's on the board of many organizations – importantly Women Business Leaders. Carrie, I'm really pleased to be talking to you this morning.
Carrie: Thank you so much for having me, Laurie. First, let me say how pleased and honored I am to be here today. Thank you so much.
Laurie: Well, thank you, Carrie. You’ve been at the firm a long time so I want to talk a bit about your career, but I really want to hone in on … some of the work that you do in diversity, equity and [inclusion], you lead the committee, you help develop the talent at the firm and you've been doing that for a while and I think that's a really important area right now. … Let's start with talking about you. What are you doing? What you do at the firm? What are you doing right now?
Carrie: So, as you mentioned, I’m a health care fraud and abuse lawyer. So, in addition to a number of interesting government investigations that I really can’t talk about too much, there’s a new OIG regulation that came out … at the turn of the year that gives greater protection to value-based arrangements under the fraud and abuse laws. And I'm working with a number of clients now to think strategically about how to take advantage of the new latitude to pay on outcomes and other health measures, rather than just sort of fee for service, you know every time you do a service you get paid for it. So the one thing about health care law is that it is never a dull moment. There’s always something new on the horizon. And then also I have … I guess what I call my “side gigs” at the firm, as you mentioned, I head up Epstein Becker Green’s diversity committee so the last year has been… as you might imagine quite busy and challenging, but in every challenge I feel that there's an opportunity and the opportunity now is that we have people’s attention and we’re able to accomplish quite a bit.
Laurie: Yeah, I think those “side gigs” are very interesting. It has been quite a year and … employee resource groups and … DEI efforts at organizations are really important, so I want to dig into that, but before we do, Carrie, you’ve been at the firm a long time – and today, just in terms of how long people stay with any one organization, those numbers are getting lower and lower. Yours is measured over … years and so, what has kept your interest? Health care law is interesting, what’s kept your interest? And, why you’ve been satisfied to stay at one firm for so long?
Carrie: So one of the things about Epstein Becker Green is that I've always felt like I’ve had the autonomy to do what I want to do and the dedication of firm resources to help me make it happen. So there aren't that many firms that would support an attorney, mind you I was an associate at the time, to write a book but the firm supported me to write the AHLA book on health care fraud and abuse. And I think that was a long time ago and it certainly was… a main thing that promoted my career, but I think … you still always have certain pivot points in your career where you do a check in and make sure you're in the right place, and for me every time I checked in with myself, it was always that I thought I had the most interesting work on my desk there was to do, and I had a continuing firm commitment to support what I wanted to do – both in my practice area and outside the firm and so it always seemed to be a place where I can make my career grow. And even at this late stage I would still want to be growing. You never really reach a plateau, you always want to move onto the next challenge and the next thing.
It really … it goes beyond my practice area because at EBG I’ve had the opportunity and support to make a difference in the firm and in the world.
So a little bit about my background. I grew up in a rent controlled apartment in Brooklyn and now and then I have to pinch myself because it's really hard for me to believe the career I’ve had and so I've always felt the need to give back, pay it forward to others. … As you mentioned, I think, I’m on EBG’s board, but my community service at the firm started way back. I started the firm’s formal pro bono program in the mid 2000’s and now I'm happy to say a majority of our attorneys participate in the program and provide pro bono services. So, for instance, during the pandemic, lawyers from across our firm participated in a compassionate release project that helps vulnerable prisoners obtain early release from prison for heath purposes. I’ve had the firm’s support to be active in non-profit organizations that make the world a better place. … you mentioned WBL, which I'm on the board of. I also serve on the board of Street Law, a nonprofit that promotes the rule of law and civic education for young people and I was just elected vice-chair of the board, I’m proud to say.