Michael F. Schaff is co-chair of the Corporate, Health, and Cannabis Law practice groups and a member of the Management Committee at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A. Mr. Schaff’s professional mission is to provide his clients with the most comprehensive and well-heeled advice in the dynamic and complex world of healthcare and corporate law. In addition to a robust private practice spanning over 35 years, Mr. Schaff, having served as outside general corporate counsel for many privately held companies, brings to the table a multi-faceted understanding of the law, as well as a unique educational and professional background rooted in business, finance, and taxation. The depth of his experience enables Mr. Schaff to assist his clients in evaluating both the legal and business ramifications of any transaction, contract, agreement or negotiation.

Mr. Schaff leads a team of healthcare and corporate lawyers who are regularly engaged to handle the following types of matters:

  • Advise on the formation and structure of mutually beneficial joint ventures with healthcare professionals and group practices; hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; healthcare facilities; clinically integrated networks; managed care organizations; practice management companies; management service organizations; physician sponsored organization; independent physician associations; and physician-hospital organizations. 
  • Advise on private equity investments in healthcare. 
  • Advise start-ups and established businesses (including Cannabis businesses) of all sizes on matters ranging from simple to complex agreements, entity formation and regulatory compliance to purchases or sales and strategic transactions.
  • Negotiate and draft owner agreements, agreements for buyouts, retirements and buy-sell arrangements, as well as joint venture, independent contractor, consulting, and restrictive covenant agreements. 

Widely recognized as a leader in healthcare law, Mr. Schaff has received numerous honors and awards, including in 2018 the prestigious David J. Greenburg Service Award from the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA). Chambers USA has consistently ranked him among the top healthcare attorneys in New Jersey since 2011, including as the sole "Star Individual" in New Jersey since 2020. Chambers sources describe him as a "thought leader" in his field who is "always ahead of the game," recognizing his ability to guide large healthcare systems and physicians groups "through market-leading joint ventures and M&A." Best Lawyers in America has recognized Mr. Schaff every year since 2003, including as "Lawyer of the Year” for Business Organizations in 2021 and for Health Care Law in 2012 and 2016-2018, and 2023 for Corporate Law. He has also been included in New Jersey Super Lawyers since its inception in 2005 and in the “Top 100” list for 2007-2015 and since 2017.

Mr. Schaff’s immersive approach extends well beyond “office hours,” enabling him to participate at the forefront of healthcare and corporate law and stay abreast of industry developments that he can employ to create options and opportunities for his clients. Mr. Schaff is an AHLA Fellow and an active member, having served in a number of the organization’s leadership positions including as a member of its Board of Directors as well as the Executive and Finance Committees, and as chair of the Physician Organizations Practice Group. In addition, Mr. Schaff led the team planning for the AHLA’s Physicians and Hospital Law Institute from 2014 to 2016 and for the AHLA’s Fundamentals of Law Program from 2010 to 2012. 

His prolific authorship and publications have educated and influenced lawyers and healthcare professionals alike. Mr. Schaff has served on the Advisory Board and Editorial Board of several prominent business, legal and healthcare industry publications, including AHLA Journal of Health & Life Sciences LawBloomberg Law Health Law and New Jersey Lawyer Magazine. In addition, he serves as co-author of the New Jersey Law Journal monthly column on the impacts of legal cannabis on New Jersey businesses in all industry sectors. Previously, he served as special editor of New Jersey Lawyer Magazine's issues on Internet and Social Media Law (2019), Cannabis Law (2018), Business Law (2014), Gaming Law (2013), Non-Profit Law (2010), Internet Law (2008), Patients’ Rights and Health Law (2007). He authored several editions of AHLA Fundamentals of Law chapter entitled “Representing Physicians,” and dozens of other articles, including “Summary of Selected New Jersey Laws,” published in State Fraud and Abuses Statutes & Regulations; “Telemedicine and the Impediments Facing Effective Implementation,” published in Physician Organizations Newsletter; "The Corporate Practice of Medicine: Still Alive and Kicking," published in BNA Health Law Reporter; “50 State Fraud and Abuse Survey,” published in Fraud & Abuse Practice Group; and “Common Arrangements with Physicians,” published in Representing Hospitals and Health Systems Handbook.

Mr. Schaff’s unique experience and commitment to healthcare law have made him a much sought-after speaker both at the local and national levels. Involved in the education of the next generation of healthcare lawyers, Mr. Schaff regularly speaks at numerous AHLA seminars around the country. In addition, he frequently presents at conferences for the New Jersey State Bar Association Health Law Section, the New Jersey Medical Group Management Association, the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and at the Louisiana State Bar Association Health Law Section Annual Symposium in New Orleans. Mr. Schaff has also spoken at numerous conferences and webinars on Cannabis law, including in New Orleans, Puerto Rico and Key West. 

Mr. Schaff is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (formerly UMDNJ), at St. John’s University, and on the Advisory Board of Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law & Policy. 

Awards & Rankings 

  • American Health Lawyers Association, David J. Greenburg Service Award, 2018
  • Chambers USA, Healthcare since 2007 (Band 1 since 2011; "Star Individual" since 2020), Corporate/M&A since 2022 (Band5)
  • Best Lawyers in America since 2003; “Lawyer of the Year” in 2012, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021 and 2023
  • New Jersey Super Lawyers since 2005; “Top 100” in 2007–2015, 2017-2021
  • New Jersey Law Journal's "New Jersey Trailblazers" list, 2020
  • Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who in the East 
  • New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Distinguished Service Award, 2016
  • Susan G. Komen Pink Tie Award for Volunteering, 2016
  • Ambulatory M&A Advisor, Leading Healthcare Transactional Lawyer Award, 2015-2017
  • Acquisition International (AL), Best for Computer and Related Technology Law – New Jersey, 2015
  • American Health Lawyers Association, Pro Bono Champion Award, 2012
  • American Cancer Society, Shining Star Award for Volunteering, 2011
  • Middlesex County Bar Association, Transactional Attorney of the Year Award, March 2008
  • Nightingale’s Healthcare News, Outstanding Physician Practice Lawyer, 2007
  • New Jersey State Bar Association Health Law Section, First Distinguished Service Award, May 2006

Speaking Engagements

  • "Cannabis Law from the Land of the Coral Reef", NJSBA, November 7, 2022
  • "Show me the Money: How to Advise Physician Practices When Private Equity comes Knocking on Their Door", American Health Law Association, June 28, 2022
  • "Cannabis Licensing in New Jersey: What You Need to Know as the Businesses Light Up", NJICLE, May 18, 2022
  • "4th Annual Cannabis Symposium", NJICLE, April 28, 2022
  • "Overview of the Deal Process – A Roadmap Through the Paper Jungle", American Health Law Association, April 25, 2022
  • "Advising Physicians about SuperGroups: A Mardi Gras Parade of Issues", American Health Law Association, February 3, 2022
  • "Succeeding in Value Based Care: Contracting, Data & Downside Risk", The New Jersey Medical Group Management Association, December 2, 2021
  • "2021 Health Law Symposium", NJICLE, October 15, 2021
  • "Year in Review", American Health Law Association, June 28, 2021
  • "Overview of the Adult Use Cannabis Laws in New Jersey", NJSBA 2021 Annual Meeting, May 20, 2021
  • "3rd Annual Cannabis Symposium", NJICLE, April 7, 2021
  • "Year in Review", Arizona Society of Healthcare Attorneys, February 12, 2021
  • "Year in Review", American Health Law Association, February 10, 2021
  • "How to Manage Physician Expectations of Private Equity Investment in Medical Practices", Pennsylvania Bar Institute “A Day on Health Law 2020” , October 28, 2020
  • "The Cannabis Law Referendum, You and Your Clients – What You Need to Know Now", NJICLE, October 19, 2020
  • "Health Law in the Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic", NJICLE 2020 Health Law Symposium, September 25, 2020
  • "Fundamentals of Representing Physicians", NJICLE, April 28, 2020
  • "Overview of the Deal Process: A Roadmap Through the Paper Jungle", American Health Law Association 2020 Health Care Transactions, April 20, 2020
  • "What Pediatricians Need to Know About the Influx of Private Equity into Healthcare", Pediatric Supergroup Conference 2020, January 23, 2020
  • "A Day of Compliance for Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs)", Surgery Center Coalition, September 24, 2019
  • "Overview of the Deal Process – A Roadmap Through the Paper Jungle", AHLA Health Care Transactions, May 1, 2019
  • "Effectively Representing Physicians: Everything you need to know to confidently & successfully represent New Jersey physicians in 2019", NJICLE, April 17, 2019
  • "Surgery Center Coalition’s Quarterly Meeting", March 27, 2019
  • "Unwinding Hospital-Physician Affiliated Medical Practices in New Value-Based Payment Environment", AHLA Physicians and Hospitals Law Institute, February 5, 2019
  • "Healthcare Comes to Main Street: Understanding the Legal Issues Presented by Retail Medicine", Louisiana State Bar Association’s 9th Annual “J. Barrett Benton” Health Law Section, December 7, 2018
  • "Representing Physicians and Physician Practices: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", AHLA Fundamentals of Health Law, November 12, 2018
  • "Health Law Symposium", NJICLE, October 19, 2018
  • "A Day of Compliance for Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs)", Surgery Center Coalition 6th Annual Conference, October 4, 2018
  • "Practicing Telemedicine in NJ: Trends and Challenges", Healthcare Financial Management Association Physicians Practice Forum, July 12, 2018
  • "Considering Affiliating with a Hospital? What are the Key Advantages and Disadvantages Physicians Need to Understand", New Jersey Medical Group Management Association, June 19, 2018
  • "Transform Through Technology", New Jersey Medical Group Management Association 2018 Practice Management Conference, June 7, 2018
  • "Representing Physicians", 2018 Health Law Fundamentals, April 12, 2018
  • "One Room Bill", Surgery Center Coalition's Quarterly Meeting, March 28, 2018
  • "Private Equity Investment in Medical Practices: Legal Issues Affecting Medical Practices", Health Financial Management Association, February 13, 2018
  • "8th Annual Health Law Section CLE", Louisiana State Bar Association Health Law Section, December 1, 2017
  • "Surgery Center Coalition 5th Annual Conference", September 28, 2017
  • "Current Issues in Healthcare/Hospital Law", NJSBA Health Law Section - NJ Hospital Association Joint Meeting, September 19, 2017
  • "Telemedicine in New Jersey", Healthcare Financial Management Association Physician Practice Forum, July 13, 2017
  • "Preparing For Downstream Risk Arrangements: What CINs and ACOs Should Be Doing Now", AHLA Annual Meeting, June 26, 2017
  • "Is Telemedicine Right for your Practice? Opportunity or Danger Zone?", New Jersey Medical Group Management Association Conference, June 15, 2017
  • "Anatomy of an Owner Agreement in a SuperGroup", Pediatric Supergroup Conference, June 1, 2017
  • "Overview of the Deal Process - A Roadmap Through the Paper Jungle", AHLA Healthcare Transactions Conference, April 26, 2017
  • "10 Hot Topics in Health Law in 2017", NJICLE Representing Physicians and Their Practices Seminar, April 19, 2017
  • "Key Issues In Winding Down The Solo Law Practice and Other Law Firm Transition Options", NJICLE 2017 Senior Lawyers Conference, April 3, 2017
  • "Issues Affecting ASCs", Surgery Center Coalition Quarterly Meeting, March 6, 2017
  • "Telemedicine: How Bill (S291) Affects NJ Medical Practices", February 14, 2017
  • "Law Firm Transition and Winding Up Your Practice", NJICLE 7th Annual Senior Lawyer Conference, April 11, 2016
  • "Telemedicine in New Jersey", New Jersey Medical Group Management Association, October 6, 2015
  • "Healthcare Mergers & Acquisitions", New Jersey Medical Group Management Practice Management Conference, April 28, 2015
  • "Successfully Representing Physicians, Medical Practices and Healthcare Groups in 2014:  Business Law, Financing, Insurance and More", NJICLE, February 27, 2014

Active Volunteer, American Cancer Society, 2000–Present


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