Features

Laurence Kraemer – Northwell Health

Strong legal staff ensures all’s well at Northwell Health

It would be easy to say Larry Kraemer has seen better days at Northwell Health, a comprehensive health care system operating in and around New York City.

After all, even as Northwell Health grows—in part because of Kraemer’s expertise in tax and corporate finance—it’s also been at the epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic. That made it hard to keep frontline staff safe and operations running with more than one third of employees working remotely.

Laurence Kraemer | Senior Vice President and Chief General Counsel | Northwell Health

Laurence Kraemer | Senior Vice President and Chief General Counsel | Northwell Health

But Kraemer, the senior vice president and general counsel who’s also a Long Island native, says he takes his cue from CEO Michael Dowling’s unique approach to change-management.

“Michael is a unique individual and wonderful leader,” Kraemer says. “He truly believes in innovation and is not afraid to make a mistake because if you learn something from it, then it can lead to better things.”

Strength in leadership

Founded in 1997, Northwell Health has its roots in the establishment of North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Both were built in response to the need for medical care as Long Island’s population boomed following World War II.

Northwell Health has since expanded to 23 hospitals and more than 800 ambulatory care centers, extending from Long Island through Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens and Westchester County. With 76,000 employees and 4,000 employed physicians, the organization is New York State’s largest private employer.

Laurence Kraemer | Senior Vice President and Chief General Counsel | Northwell Health

With a background in M&A and corporate finance, Kraemer manages wide-ranging financial matters. As part of that, he coordinates with the New York Attorney General, the IRS and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. He also guides a legal department of more than 75 employees, complemented by a compliance department of 75 led by Senior Vice President Greg Radinsky. He says Vice President of Legal Affairs Patricia Dineen has been invaluable leading the corporate group.

In becoming the largest private employer in New York State, Northwell’s employment model has had to evolve in the wake of COVID, Kraemer says. Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Mark Gloade oversees labor and employment matters, including union negotiations and new technologies that enabled Kraemer to hire an attorney who works remotely.

Difficult days

As the pandemic struck, Northwell Health found itself at the epicenter. Its hospitals had the highest rate of COVID-19 patients anywhere. Making matters even more complicated, 30,000 Northwell Health employees shifted to remote work overnight, including the legal and compliance departments.

According to Kraemer, the shift was eased because Northwell Health had already begun preparing for weather-related remote work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the New York City area in 2012.

“We were able to make the shift successfully, but Vice President Alexandra Trinkoff and her staff had to respond to changes in health regulations occurring almost by the hour,” Kraemer recalls. “Moreover, the regulatory compliance area led by Paul Kaufman worked closely with Alex and her team.”

With Teams and Zoom platforms already in use and the network protected by the cybersecurity team, not only could legal and administrative staff work remotely; they did so more productively, as measured by metrics in areas such as hiring, onboarding and physician growth.

“We could maintain and keep the pace while hiring for other jobs, and people felt there was a better use of time without a commute,” he says.

Laurence Kraemer | Senior Vice President and Chief General Counsel | Northwell Health

As part of the job, Kraemer says he has also come to appreciate the nuance of intellectual property, largely since he began working with Barbara Morrissey, the vice president of intellectual property and IT. Essentially, what Kraemer brings to finance and tax issues, Morrissey brings to intellectual property and technology, he says. Along with her J.D., she has a doctorate in molecular biology.

While proud of his internal team and what it’s accomplished, Kramer is quick to praise the firm of Ropes & Gray LLP for providing valuable outside counsel in a variety of practice areas.

For instance, Stephen Warnke’s regulatory expertise makes him an essential business advisor who’s also well respected by agencies including the New York State Department of Health.

Additionally, Kraemer says Christine Moundas has helped enable joint ventures, such as the addition of nearly 15 outpatient dialysis sites with kidney care specialists DaVita. Financing expert Anne Ogilby has helped structure Northwell’s bond financings, and Tim McCrystal’s counsel was essential as COVID-19 brought changes in guidelines and regulations.

Close to home

While coming of age in Massapequa, New York, Kraemer was in Northwell Health’s coverage area, and he saw how people frequently left the Long Island town only to return to start families.  Not him, though. By first grade he knew he wanted to be an attorney. He also met his wife across the street.

“We were waiting for the ice cream truck together,” Kraemer recalls.

Kraemer earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rutgers University in 1978, followed by a J.D. from Boston University School of Law three years later. While knowing he wanted to be an attorney, he hadn’t anticipated practicing health care law until one of his professors emphasized the opportunities and nuances of the newly developing practice area, he recalls.

In 1983, Kraemer earned a master’s of law from the New York University School of Law. Upon joining the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche, he focused on tax issues for health care and nonprofit entities, and in 1995, was promoted to tax director.

Laurence Kraemer | Senior Vice President and Chief General Counsel | Northwell Health

One of the firm’s clients was Northwell Health. When the health care system sought a new deputy general counsel, Kraemer was asked if he knew of any potential candidates. After providing several names, he added his for consideration, and was hired as vice president of legal affairs in 2007.

And while there’s no place like home, there’s also no substitute for the varied experiences the health care industry has brought him.

“We’ve got great continuity in our legal department,” he says. “People are happy, mission oriented and like the way we approach things. What makes it interesting and challenging is health care impacts every type of law… it has to be looked at through regulatory and tax exempt lenses. There’s a lot of opportunities and pitfalls and there’s a lot of creativity that goes into it.”

View this feature in the Vanguard Fall I 2021 Edition here.

Published on: August 24, 2021

regions:

categories:

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.

Testimonials

The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.
I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.
It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.
As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.

LATEST EDITION

Fall I 2021

READ NOW

GET VANGUARD IN YOUR INBOX.

  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.