Health care work continues to drive significant demand and lateral moves in the Southeast, including most recently Epstein Becker & Green’s hiring of a former chair of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis.
John Tishler, who was chair of Nashville, Tennessee-based Waller from 2008-2014, focuses on health care transactional, insolvency and restructuring matters. He is reuniting with a group of four lawyers who joined from Waller in January. He left Waller in late July, and Epstein announced his hiring this week.
Epstein Becker has long eyed Nashville to grow its health care practice—one of its core concentrations, besides labor and employment.
Tishler called Nashville the “hottest health care market in the country,” noting opportunities for work in distressed acquisitions and divestitures.
“It’s an innovation center,” Tishler said. “A lot of the newest ideas in health care, especially with the way health care systems deliver their services, starts here. That I don’t see changing. As a result, you’re going to be right here at the very front of the line in terms of what clients are thinking and what clients are doing.”
Earlier this year, 375-attorney Epstein Becker added from Waller health care construction partners Christopher Dunn, Jeremy Oliver and Keith Randall, as well as associate Briant Shumard in January.
Tishler said that, while he hasn’t had the chance to talk with everybody about his move to Epstein, he has had ”positive reactions” from all of his clients, especially those in the health care industry. “They know who EBG is, and they’re excited about that law firm,” Tishler said. “I’m excited that they’re happy with that.”
He added that “there are very few, if any, law firms that are as good at managing thorny legal issues for health care clients than Epstein Becker & Green.”
“I wanted to see what I could do on their platform and take it to the next level for my next chapter,” he said.
Tishler is among the latest laterals in health care law, as Southeast law firms continue to grow business and head count in these Big Law practices in the wake of the pandemic.
“Nashville, we say, is the de facto center of the health care services industry universe,” said Mark Lutes, chair of Epstein Becker’s board of directors, in an interview. “For that reason, we’ve been growing our presence there for a number of years.”
However, Lutes said there has been a “plethora of negative margins” in some companies in the space, noting that while everything in healthcare benefited from some government support during the pandemic, that is now gone.
“The market needs to realign and also deal with, in some cases, declining volumes,” Lutes said. “If those declining volumes and the higher labor costs work together in an already margin-challenged environment, you end up with a perfect storm for distressed assets.”