Profiles in Diversity

"I was one of those law students who did not go to law school right after college.

"After receiving my M.B.A. in hospital administration, I started working in health administration for the New York City Health Department. During that time, my boss recommended that I think about going to law school. I pondered that idea for some time and three years later decided to enroll at the University of Virginia School of Law. After completing law school, I worked for a law firm that I had summered with the previous year.

Cliff Barnes: "Being able to overcome challenges will free you from restrictions."

"However, two months after arriving there, a good friend and colleague told me about Epstein Becker Green. He thought that Epstein Becker Green would be a good fit for me, being that I already had previous health care experience and was interested in that area of law. So, I arranged a meeting with Bill Kopit. Bill was one of the 'founding fathers' of the firm and became well known in the field of health care antitrust. It was invigorating and exciting to hear about what Epstein Becker Green was doing in health care, and I decided right then to join the firm. That was in August of 1982.

"Of course, being a lawyer right out of law school has its challenges. You have to learn your craft and build confidence in your abilities. It is especially challenging if you are African-American. Working with clients is about building relationships. They first must trust you and be willing to accept your guidance. What I have discovered in my 35 years of practicing law is that it is difficult for some people to build relationships outside of their race. I have learned to focus on individuals who want to build that attorney-client relationship with me and not to worry about the rest.

"Epstein Becker Green provided a fertile soil and became my work 'family' that enabled me to connect, grow, and develop into the lawyer I am today. I credit Epstein Becker Green’s commitment to its employees, clients, and community as the reason why I am still with the firm today.

"My advice to anyone coming out of law school is to find a firm that fits you and to practice the type of law that you really enjoy doing. As cliché as it sounds, it is true. If you really enjoy what you are doing, you will succeed."

— Cliff Barnes

Learn More About Diversity at Epstein Becker Green

Focus Areas


  • Terminated successfully a suspension of Medicaid payments by the D.C. Department of Health Care Finance, based upon fraud claims, for a behavioral health company.
  • Negotiated successfully, on behalf of a home health care agency client, a settlement agreement with the D.C. Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF), ending the suspension of Medicaid payments due to the client. Cliff assisted the client in settling the matter within two months of the client’s receipt of the DHCF’s Notice of Suspension.
  • Helped an investment firm acquire two skilled nursing facilities and two long-term acute care facilities. Cliff and his team advised the investment firm on the health regulatory aspects of the transaction.
  • Represented a client providing specialized inpatient stabilization and withdrawal management services in two matters. First, Cliff obtained from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General a waiver of successor liability under the client’s Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) in connection with the acquisition of the client’s assets by a national provider of behavioral health services. Second, Cliff secured the suspension of the client's obligations under its CIA.
  • Served as regulatory counsel to advise a community hospital client seeking to become a region-wide proton therapy provider on the regulatory process, including the Certificate of Need (CON), for the establishment of proton therapy stations. Cliff developed the strategy, prepared regulatory filings, and interfaced with the regulators, leading the government to approve three proton stations.
  • Assisted a home health care provider in successfully entering into an agreement to settle a disputed confessed judgment liability of more than $930,000 for the sum of $428,333.28.


  • The Best Lawyers in America, Corporate Compliance Law, Health Care Law (2023-2024)
  • Savoy Magazine, Most Influential Black Lawyers (2022)
  • Washington DC Super Lawyers, Health Care (2016 to 2020)
  • Cornell University, Sloan Alumni Achievement Award (2020)
  • American Health Law Association, Fellow (2020); Accountable Care Organization Task Force, Vice Chair (2015)
  • Lawyers of Color’s “Nation’s Best,” Inaugural List, (2019)
  • The Legal 500 United States, Healthcare: Health Insurers (2016, 2018)
  • CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, Finance and Investment Committee of Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc., Chair (2016)
  • United Planning Organization, Audit Committee, Chair (2016)
  • Medicaid Health Plans of America, Isadore King Spirit of Service Award (2009)
  • Louis University Health Law Program, Practitioner in Residence (2005)
  • National Association of Health Services Executives, President’s Award (1985)


  • Appointed in 2022 as Team Leader of Epstein Becker Green's Health Equity Focused Initiative
  • Appointed in 2021-2023 as a Member of the American Health Law Association Fellows Coordinating Council
  • Appointed in 2021-2022 to the Advisory Committee of the Journal of Health and Life Sciences Law (the official journal of the American Health Law Association)
  • Appointed in 2021 as Co-Chair of Epstein Becker Green’s Minority Attorney Forum
  • Appointed in 2020 as Vice Chair of Epstein Becker Green’s Diversity and Professional Development Committee
  • Elected in 2020 a Fellow of the American Health Law Association
  • Appointed in 2016 as Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee of Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc., d/b/a/ CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Appointed in 2016 as Chair of the Audit Committee for the United Planning Organization
  • Appointed in 2015 as Vice Chair of the Accountable Care Organization Task Force of the American Health Lawyers Association
  • Appointed in 2014 to the Board of Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc., d/b/a/ CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Appointed in 2010 as Co-Chair of Epstein Becker Green’s Health Plan Compliance Group
  • Appointed in 2009 as Chair of the Best Practices and Compliance Committee of the Medicaid Health Plans of America
  • Appointed in 2006 to Epstein Becker Green’s Diversity and Professional Development Committee
  • Appointed in 2005 as Practitioner in Residence at the St. Louis University Health Law Program
  • Appointed in 2004 as Vice-Chair of the Transactional & Business Health Care Interest Group of the American Bar Association
  • Appointed by Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services, in 2004 to the State Pharmaceutical Assistance Transition Commission



  • University of Virginia (J.D., 1981)
    • Editorial Board, Journal of Natural Resources Law
  • Cornell University (M.B.A., 1974)
    • Hospital Administration
  • Pace University (B.B.A., 1972)

Bar Admissions

Board of Directors

  • CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Medicaid Health Plans of America, Inc.
  • National Association of Health Services Executives

Professional & Community Involvement

  • American Bar Association
  • American Health Law Association: Fellow; Member, Fellows Coordinating Council; Vice Chair, Accountable Care Organization Task Force (former)
  • American Society of Association Executives
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • National Bar Association
  • Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Epsilon Boule'


Past Events




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