The HCTL Spotlight is a series of interviews with lawyers who practice healthcare transactional law, providing an in-depth look at the professionals within the field.
Roger Strode is a partner with Foley & Lardner, LLP in Chicago. He works in corporate and transactional healthcare counsel, representing institutional healthcare providers, healthcare private equity sponsors and for-profit providers of specialty services.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Central, Illinois, in a small town outside of Champaign-Urbana, called Mahomet.
Where did you receive your undergraduate? Where did you study law?
I have a B.S. in Accounting from Illinois State University and I received my J.D., cum laude, from Marquette University Law School.
How and why did you get into healthcare transactional law?
Bin 1992 I was practicing tax and transactional (M&A) law when the partners from the health care practice at my then law firm, Michael Best & Friedrich, approached me to help them in a burgeoning health care transactional practice. They promised to teach me all they knew about health care law if I would help them understand, better, how to do transactions. I cut my teeth by buying and selling physician practices for health systems and then slowly started working on system and hospital deals. For many years I represented the Wheaton Franciscan system, Pro Health Care and various other nonprofit systems where I learned how to do physician-hospital deals. Slowly but surely my tax and transactional practice morphed into a healthcare only practice focused primarily on transactions. Today, my clients range from for profit entities engaged in ASC and physician-owned hospital businesses, imaging and physical therapy concerns, health care private equity firms, nonprofit health care systems and large physician groups.
Have you received any awards or recognitions?
I’m regularly listed in The Best Lawyers in America and was named one of the Top Health Care Transactional Lawyers by Nightingales Healthcare News.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
My wife and I love to travel. I play golf like it’s my job (sadly, I’m not very good at that job). I also enjoy watching my youngest son play high school baseball. I’m a family guy and really treasure my wife, children and my extended family.
Who has influenced you the most?
Probably my father and my grandfather. My dad lost his eyesight at 26 years of age and, as a result, he went back to college to finish his undergraduate degree. He then enrolled in the University of Illinois where he received his law degree and hung out a shingle back in the early 70s. He was a small town lawyer who was an expert at everything that walked in the door. He used to say that he could handle dog bites to divorce. My grandfather, my dad’s dad, was like a second father to me. He was a self-made man without a college degree who loved my dad and his family and made sure that even in the leanest of times (and there were lean times in my house growing up) we didn’t want for much. I miss both my dad and my grandfather every day. However, their work ethic and love of family guides me every day as well.
What do you love the most about what you do?
I really enjoy the day to day give and take with my clients. I’m lucky as I’ve become personal friends with many of my clients, which has lead to long term relationships (both professional and personal). I enjoy being as much a business counselor as a legal counselor. I also really love the fact that by becoming a health care transactional lawyer, I have become an expert at something and my expertise is not something that everyone has.
What do you do better than everyone else?
I think I’m a very practical and pretty creative guy. I rarely tell my clients “no.” It may be “no, but…” but it’s rarely just “no.” I also think I am good at making sure that my advice allows my clients to advance their business goals and it isn’t simply “cover my a**” counseling.