STUDENT NAME: Noel Christian Pace
LAW SCHOOL: University of Miami School of Law and U.S. Army War College (attending concurrently)
STATUS: J.D. – 3L full-time; Master of Strategic Studies, 2nd Year, part-time
UNDERGRADUATE: B.S. in management, Tulane University, New Orleans; Army ROTC Scholarship: Distinguished Military Graduate
OTHER DEGREE/INSTITUTION: Master’s in health administration, Baylor University, Waco, Texas; Master’s of Business Administration, University of Denver.
HOME CITY/STATE OR COUNTRY: Originally Fayetteville, New York (before being commissioned in the U.S. Army in 1993); now a resident of El Portal, Florida.
Think of Noel Christian Pace as a paladin fighting for health justice in the U.S., particularly for giving military veterans the services they deserve. The image of a knight is more appropriate than many might think: This Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and third-year law student at the University of Miami School of Law is concurrently a second-year master’s student at the U.S. Army War College; an Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorpsJD Veteran’s Rights Fellow with the Dean’s Certificate of Achievement (highest grade) for his work in the University of Miami Health Rights Clinic in 2013-2014, and has a history as a leader with health-care organizations in and out of law school.
Pace served as President of the University of Miami Health Law Association as a 2L. His paper – which examined the unintended consequences of the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act on brain-injured veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – qualified him as a published member of the University of Miami National Security and Armed Conflict Law Review.
Dual-board certified in Healthcare Management through the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and the American Academy of Medical Administrators (AAMA), Pace was able to head up a number of health-care organizations prior to law school. He served, for example, as executive officer of the U.S. Army Trauma Training Center at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Ryder Trauma Center; as executive director of the South Florida Surgery Center, and as president of the South Florida Healthcare Executive Forum, Inc.
As an Army Officer, Pace has been deployed to Korea, Honduras, Colombia, Chile and Kuwait. He earned the Bronze Star Medal and Combat Medical Badge in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He is currently a member of the Upsilon Phi Delta Healthcare Administration National Honor Society and the University of Miami School of Law Society of Bar and Gavel.
LAWDRAGON: What were key factors you used to choose your law school?
NOEL CHRISTIAN PACE: I knew before I came to law school that I wanted to become a health-care attorney, and with health care now making up almost one-fifth of the U.S. economy, and with the advent of the Affordable Care Act, I looked at a number of factors:
1. Did the law school have a medical-legal partnership with the medical school at the university, and was healthcare and life science a large part of the overall university’s mission?
2. Were health-law related classes part of the law school curriculum and if so, how many classes were there?
3. Were there any health-law related clinics in which I could participate as an upper-level student?
4. Was the industry of health care a large part of the local economy?
5. Was the law school located in a large metropolitan area with many opportunities for judicial and law office internships?
6. Did the law school have a large alumni base that was part of the local legal, judicial and political communities?
LD: What do you wish you’d known about law school before enrolling?
NCP: That I should have done it sooner in my life, as it has been very rewarding.
LD: What has been your most memorable law school experience so far?
NCP: Serving as an intern, and now as a Veteran’s Rights Fellow, in the University of Miami School of Law Health Rights Clinic. In these roles, I was able to advocate on behalf of my clients, including a U.S. Army veteran with leukemia, a girl who acquired HIV in her first sexual encounter and a homeless man with severe diabetes. I helped them obtain necessary benefits and changed their lives for the better.
LD: What do you plan to do with your law degree?
NCP: I still plan on becoming a healthcare attorney. My great experience at the University of Miami School of Law, where in addition to the Health Rights Clinic I took classes such as “Implementing the Affordable Care Act” from famed tax professor Frances R. Hill and worked as a health law summer associate at Kozyak, Tropin and Throckmorton in Coral Gables, Florida, have only enhanced that commitment and reinforced my plan.
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