BU Law welcomes its newest associate professor, Abigail Moncrieff from Harvard University’s Petrie Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics, where she had been an academic fellow.
“I really liked everyone (at BU Law) in my first round of interviews, and they really liked me,” she recalled. Once she decided to stay in Boston, she said, “It was no contest. BU is far and away the best for those who want to do health law.”
Professor Moncrieff describes her two primary interests as politics and health care.
As a student at Wellesley College, she first learned about Universal Health Care issues while volunteering for Al Gore’s presidential campaign in New Hampshire. She subsequently took a class about the legislative process and began to study the Patients Bill of Rights. During the following summer she interned in Sen. Kennedy’s Health Committee office, and worked on the Patients’ Rights legislation. She watched it pass in the Senate only to die in conference committee. “That was really when I dedicated myself to healthcare,” she recalled.
Moncrieff graduated from Wellesley in three years as a double major – political science and English – and earned a Fulbright scholarship to study comparative health care policy at the University of Geneva.
At the University of Chicago Law School, she continued her interest in health issues, wrote for the Law Review, and received the Casper Platt Award for Outstanding Paper by a Law Student, the Joseph Henry Beale Prize for Legal Research and Writing, and the Bell, Boyd & Lloyd Prize for Outstanding Brief in the Bigelow Moot Court Competition.
She graduated from Chicago Law School with honors, and accepted a healthcare fellowship at Harvard Petrie-Flom, where she knew she would gain experience in both health care law and constitutional law. “I had two years at Harvard with terrific advisers around and no teaching obligations,” she said. “Just pure research.”
There, she drafted a paper on Federalization Snowballs (“Federalization Snowballs: The Need for National Action in Medical Malpractice Reform,” Columbia Law Review 2009). In that paper, she argued that federalization of healthcare spending through Medicare, Medicaid and similar programs has snowballed into a need for federalization of medical malpractice.
She chose BU Law as a place where her healthcare research would be supported. “BU Law has a strong and deeply rooted health law program I can just join — I didn’t have to build one as I would have had to do at some other schools. When I come forward with an idea of how to strengthen our health law program here, I wouldn’t get someone saying, ‘Why would we want to do that?’ That’s really nice.”
Some of her current papers in the works are an update on her Snowball paper, “Does Federalization Snowball? The Perverse Effect of Federal Intervention on State Regulation,” and “The Supreme Court’s Assault on Litigation: Why (and How) It Might Be a Good Thing for Health Law.” Her “A Closer Look at the Federalization Snowball” was published in Columbia Law Review’s online publication, Sidebar.