Sherwin Memel, a pioneer in the field of healthcare law, died June 29 at 77.
Hes one of the people who realized that the healthcare industry needed its own specialty for lawyers because of the complexity of the regulatory setting, said Cathy Kay, a private practice lawyer based in Los Angeles who teamed up with Memel to teach a course in the health administration program at the University of Southern California.
Over the past 20 years, Memel built the healthcare practice at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. He joined the firms Los Angeles office after the dissolution of his firm, Memel, Jacobs & Ellsworth. Memel was one of the recipients of the American Hospital Associations Award of Honor in 1971 and was given the Federation of American Hospitals Presidents Achievement Award in 1973.
Barry Landsberg, a Manatt partner hired by Memel, recalled his mentor and friend as brilliant and tenacious. When there was no precedent in a field that didnt exist, he made law, Landsberg said. Landsberg sent an e-mail to Memel on those early years following a roundtable discussion for the California Society for Healthcare Attorneys. Memels reply ended: Those were wild and woolly days. No precedents. Looking back, quite exhilarating.