Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, December 4, 2006


Page 3


Health Law Attorney Robert Layton Joins Davis Wright


By TINA BAY, Staff Writer


Former Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton partner Robert Layton Friday joined Davis Wright Tremaine’s Los Angeles office as a partner in its health care practice group.

The 57-year-old attorney told the MetNews that Davis Wright would provide him with a bigger platform for his practice and a greater depth of resources for his clients.

“Both where I’m coming from and where I am now are great firms in terms of reputation and people and so forth, but Davis Wright has a nationally-renowned expertise and name recognition in the health industry,” he said. “At Sheppard Mullin, there were a handful of us in my practice area. Here there are 60 or more lawyers who do what I do.”

Many of his new colleagues are people he has known and worked with before, he added, calling his new workplace “very collegial.”

Seattle-based attorney Robert G. Homchick, who chairs Davis Wright’s national health care practice group, called Layton a “first rate” lawyer who was a “perfect fit” for the firm.

“Bob’s vast experience and knowledge of the industry is a perfect complement to our national health care practice,” he said in a statement.

The firm’s managing partner, Richard Ellingsen, agreed, noting that Layton is

well-known and respected within the Southern California health care community.

Having practiced health law since 1980, Layton specializes in administrative and litigation matters in the health care industry. He has represented a broad range of health care organizations including provider groups, HMOs, and the largest hospitals healthcare companies in the nation.

His experience includes counseling healthcare providers regarding fraud and abuse, HIPAA and privacy, managed care contracting, and medical device marketing and pricing. In litigation, he has represented clients in disputes concerning RICO, healthcare regulation, managed care, professional liability and insurance coverage.

In recent years, he has also focused on the senior health population and concerns such as senior health and fitness services, Medicare, and establishing and building HMOs.

Layton described his work as rewarding because it was in an industry dedicated to helping people.

“It’s not just about money, it’s not just about bigger and better,” he said. It’s about actually, hopefully, taking care of people and making them better.”

And, he pointed out, the health care industry is “incredibly expansive,” covering life from “the cradle to the grave” and comprising a substantial portion of the economy.

“It encompasses everything, and it’s pretty exciting for lawyers,” the attorney remarked.

Layton said he “evolved into the area” of health law while working as an associate with Flame, Sanger, Grayson & Ginsburg starting in 1979.

Previously, he spent a year as an entertainment lawyer with Rudich & Wideman on the Sunset Strip. His first job out of law school was with Larscheid, Buchanan, Winengar & Kerlan in Sacramento, where he worked as an associate in general practice from 1974-1977 before moving down to Southern California.

In 1983, following Flame Sanger’s merger with another firm, Layton became a partner in Wood, Lucksinger & Epstein.

In 1990, he moved to National Medical Enterprises, now Tenet Healthcare Corporation, where he served as Senior Counsel until 1994. He left that post to join McKenna & Cuneo as a partner before transitioning to Sheppard Mullin in 1998.

Layton, a Napa native who earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from UC Davis, expressed enthusiasm about seeing health law develop in Southern California.

“I think this firm, particularly in Southern California, is going to be one of the dominant, if not the dominant, law firms in the area,” the attorney said. “I generally hope to make Davis Wright Tremaine even more of a respected presence than it already is.”

Layton, who has a bachelor’s degree. in economics, added he was “very interested” in seeing the firm expand its work internationally.

“A lot of what we’ve learned in the health industry in the U.S. is exportable and should be exported, particularly to China, and what is available in China should be imported back here,” he said, citing telemedicine and robotic surgery technologies. “It’s world economy. A lot of those traditional barriers involving health are breaking down.”

In addition to his work with Davis Wright, Layton co-chairs the Health Committee of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, which is dedicated to guiding the chamber and the local business community on healthcare issues—such as indigent care and emergency room closures—impacting the region.

He is also a member of the American Bar Association, American Health Lawyers Association, and California Association of Health Care Attorneys.


Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company