Alumni Share Insights on Careers in Health Law

Sarah Esty and Rose Carmen Goldberg seated in front of a chalkboard, speaking.
Sarah Esty ’16 Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Rose Carmen Goldberg ’15, Deputy Attorney General in California, discuss their work at a Solomon Center career night.

The Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy recently hosted its annual career night. Panelists described their career trajectories in health law and policy, providing a variety of perspectives on their roles and fields of expertise. The April 1 event was cosponsored by the Yale Health Law and Policy Society (YHeLPS). The panel was moderated by Solomon Center Student Fellow Elena Sokoloski ’25 and started off with the four alumni panelists speaking about the paths of their careers from law school to their current positions. 

Rose Carmen Goldberg ’15 serves as Deputy Attorney General in the Office of the California Attorney General’s Public Rights Division. She also holds teaching positions as an adjunct professor at Berkeley and Columbia. Goldberg described how she has always been passionate about health law, working in the field even before law school. During law school, she participated in the Veterans Legal Services clinic. Upon graduation, Goldberg founded and severed as Legal Director of the Oakland Vet Center, a medical-legal partnership for unhoused and low-income veterans in California. Goldberg’s current job focuses on gun violence prevention and veterans’ rights. As part of her position, she frequently works with public health experts. 

Sarah Esty ’16 serves as Senior Advisor for Technology and Delivery to the Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Before her current role, Esty worked in another position at the department. She was previously Senior Deputy Director for Policy and Planning Administration at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In that position, Esty was involved in Medicaid transformation as well as in crafting a public-health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In her current position, Esty focuses on technology policy. For example, she helps regulate aspects of AI, ensuring there are sufficient guardrails while recognizing the need to avoid curtailing innovation.

Julian Polaris and Matthew All seated in front of a chalkboard, speaking.
Julian Polaris ’15, Partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, and Matthew All ’96, President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas shared their career stories.

Matthew All ’96 serves as President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. Growing up in Kansas with a passion for politics, All returned to his home state after law school to work as a litigator in a big law firm. He then moved to serve as an assistant to Kathleen Sebelius in her position as Kansas Insurance Commissioner. All continued working with Sebelius after she was elected as governor. For the past 17 years, he has been working in Blue Shield Kansas — first as general counsel, then as CEO. All sees his current role as making insurance and healthcare easier to understand and access for insurance beneficiaries. 

Julian Polaris ’15 serves as a Partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. Polaris attended law school hoping to work in health law and policy. After two clerkships, he joined Manatt, where he focuses on health policy. As part of his position, Polaris represents and advises non-governmental organizations and governments, including the state of Michigan and the city of New York. One of his areas of expertise is Medicaid law and policy. He credits his expertise in that area to courses on federalism and related topics he took as a law student. 
The event concluded with panelists drawing upon their experience to give students advice.

Goldberg recommended choosing a mixture of foundational courses and experimental opportunities in law school. She described volunteering in a hospice as a life-changing experience. Esty encouraged students to choose their own paths based on their own interests even if their interests diverge from those of their peers. She also recommended looking for job opportunities in a wide range of geographical areas. 

All reminded students that it is alright if they do not have their entire careers already planned out. 

“Be open to what the universe is going to send your way,” All said. 

Polaris recommended clerking and offered an item of advice about applying for jobs. He said it is possible for a job candidate be hired for a position in health law and policy without a healthcare background as long as they show a passion about healthcare.