Michael F. Schaff is Chair of the Corporate and Health Law groups, Co-Chair of the Cannabis Law group 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 law, corporate law and cannabis law. In addition to a robust private practice spanning over 30 years, Mr. Schaff, having served as 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, corporate and cannabis 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; physician practice management companies; management service organizations; physician sponsored organization; independent physician associations; physician-hospital organizations; private equity investments in healthcare. This includes analysis of tax, antitrust and regulatory issues.
- Represent physicians before hospital and professional boards regarding the limitation or withdrawal of privileges
- Advise corporations, start-ups and established businesses of all sizes, including publicly held and private companies, franchisees, not-for-profits, limited liability companies and sole proprietorships on matters ranging from securities and regulation, entity formation and regulatory compliance to changes in ownership and strategic transactions.
- Handle matters and disputes relating to acquisitions and sales, agreements, contracts, compliance with local, state and federal laws, financial transactions, leases, land use, environmental concerns, trade secrets and intellectual property, real estate, and human resources.
- Negotiate and draft owner agreements, agreements for buyouts, retirements and buy-sell arrangements, as well as stockholder, joint venture, independent contractor, consulting, and restrictive covenant agreements.
- Advise producers, patients, caregivers, medical marijuana dispensaries, physicians, hospitals, medical practices, pharmacies, and others doing business in the legal cannabis market in New Jersey to help them navigate the state and federal regulatory framework
- Provide guidance in corporate structuring and compliance with the new cannabis corporate regulations, including: entity selection and registration, drafting governance documents, capital contribution negotiations, corporate governance and business operations, negotiating and revising commercial contracts and other corporate transactions, drafting employment agreements, and mergers and acquisitions.
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. Chambers USA has ranked him as Band 1 in Healthcare since 2011. Chambers sources describe him as “a phenomenal healthcare attorney,” lauding his negotiating skills as “the best in class.” New Jersey Best Lawyers has recognized Mr. Schaff as “Healthcare Lawyer of the Year” in 2012, 2016 and 2018, and he has also been included in New Jersey Super Lawyers “Top 100” for 2007-2015 and 2017-2018.
Mr. Schaff’s immersive approach extends well beyond “office hours,” enabling him to participate at the forefront of healthcare, corporate and cannabis law and stay abreast of industry developments that he can employ to create options and opportunities for his clients. Mr. Schaff is a Fellow of the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) and an active member, having served in a number of the organization’s leadership positions including: member of the Board of Directors, Executive and Finance Committees, and as the chair of the AHLA 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 is co-special editor of New Jersey Lawyer Magazine’ special issues on Internet and Social Media Law (2019) and Cannabis Law (2018) and has served as co-special editor of the magazine’s previous issues on Business Law (2014), Gaming Law (2013), Non-Profit Law (2010), Internet Law (2008), Patients’ Rights (April 2007) and Health Law (2007). For AHLA publications, he has served as co-editor of several editions of the Fundamentals of Law chapter entitled “Representing Physicians”, and authored dozens of other articles, including “Summary of Selected New Jersey Laws” (published in State Fraud and Abuses Statuses & Regulations), “Telemedicine and the Impediments Facing Effective Implementation” (published in Physician Organizations Newsletter), “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). In addition, Mr. Schaff serves on the Advisory Board and Editorial Board of many prominent business, legal and industry publications such as Bloomberg Law Health (2018), New Jersey Lawyer Magazine (since 2005), Imaging Economics Magazine (since 2009), The Coding Institute Part B Insider (since 2009), Ambulatory Surgery Compliance & Reimbursement Insider Newsletter (since 2008), Managed Care Newsletter (since 2008), Ophthalmology Compliance & Reimbursement Insider Newsletter (since 2008), Radiology Administrator’s Compliance and Reimbursement Insider Newsletter (since 2008). In addition, he has served on the Editorial Board of Bloomberg BNA Health Law Reporter for 2011-2017.
Mr. Schaff’s unique experience and commitment to healthcare law has made him a much sought after speaker both at the local and national level. Involved in the education of the next generation of healthcare lawyers, Mr. Schaff regularly speaks at numerous AHLA seminars around the United States. In addition, he frequently presents at several 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 for the Louisiana State Bar Association Health Law Section Annual Symposium in New Orleans.
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, 2007–2018 (Band 1, Healthcare 2011–2018)
- New Jersey Best Lawyers, 2003–2018; “Healthcare Lawyer of the Year” 2012, 2016 & 2018
- New Jersey Super Lawyers, 2005–2018; “Top 100” 2007–2015, 2017-2018
- 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
Active Volunteer, American Cancer Society, 2000–Present
Also of Interest
- May 1, 2019 Michael F. Schaff to Present at American Health Lawyers Association’s Health Care Transactions Program
- March 13, 2019 Wilentz Health Law Attorneys to Present at New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s 1st Annual Cannabis Symposium
- February 5, 2019 Michael F. Schaff to Present at American Health Lawyers Association’s Physicians and Hospitals Law Institute
- December 20, 2018 New York’s Opioid-Fee Law Blocked by Judge as Unconstitutional