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Corporate Governance

Companies in Demand During Virus Outbreak Make Key Legal Hires

May 27, 2020, 4:32 PM

Telehealth startup 98point6 Inc.’s legal group has found itself in the enviable position of expanding during the past two months as employers embraced on-demand virtual health care technology.

The privately held company’s nine-person legal team, which includes lawyers, paralegals, security officers, and compliance professionals, has adapted to sweeping regulatory changes such as the CARES Act, while also helping wrap up a $43 million financing round in April led by the merchant banking arm of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“Many startups run away from regulation and requirements,” said 98point6 general counsel Tori Lallemont, who in 2015 was the fifth employee in the door at the Seattle-based company, which takes its name from the approximate standard bodily temperature for a healthy adult human being.

“Our founders identified early on that legal and compliance would be an asset of the company,” she said.

That commitment enabled 98point6 to “gain credibility” in the health care space, one known for its labyrinthine legalities, as the primary care services provider worked to meet an unprecedented rise in customer requests, Lallemont said.

The company was able to get a large contract done with the Boeing Co. in only a couple of weeks, she said. Other key clients of 98point6 include Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Circle K Stores Inc., and KinderCare Learning Centers.

The law department at 98point6 is also growing, having last month added associate general counsel Melanie Curtice, who had been the company’s primary outside employee benefits counsel as a partner at Perkins Coie’s Seattle headquarters, Lallemont said.

Curtice, who didn’t respond to a request for comment about her new role, joined Perkins Coie’s tax benefits and compensation group in 2016 from Stoel Rives.

Lallemont told Bloomberg Law that 98point6 uses Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati to handle corporate matters—the law firm handled the company’s most recent fundraising—and alternative legal services provider Axiom Legal Solutions Inc. for overflow contracts work.

“I think we’re able to do things much better here than at a company where legal and compliance might be looked at as a cost center,” Lallemont said. “We’re definitely partners to the business.”

More Health Hires

Other recent in-house additions in the health care industry include:

Rockport Healthcare Services, California’s largest nursing home operator, has brought on an in-house legal chief in Jennifer Brockett, who spent the past 20 years as a litigator in the health care, hospitality, and restaurant groups at Davis Wright Tremaine in Los Angeles.

Brockett confirmed to Bloomberg Law that she became Rockport’s new senior vice president of legal April 20. The role, which Brockett said was underway prior to the mid-March coronavirus outbreak, will see her oversee legal matters related to Rockport’s facilities. She declined to discuss specifics about her new position at the privately held company, which owns more than 70 nursing homes in California.

St. Mary’s Healthcare, an operator of hospitals and other health care centers in upstate New York that will become an independent organization June 30 upon leaving the St. Louis-based Ascension Health Alliance, has hired Julieann Diamond-Carrow as vice president of legal services and general counsel. She didn’t respond to a request for comment about her new role, which is a familiar one.

Diamond-Carrow spent a decade as in-house legal chief at St. Mary’s until she became of counsel in early 2019 at Jackson Lewis in Albany, N.Y. She returned to the hospital system this month as it named a new CEO ahead of exiting the nonprofit Ascension umbrella, which it joined in 2002. St. Mary’s expects the move to save it money as it copes with health-care challenges presented by Covid-19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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