Michael F. Schaff is co-chair of the Corporate, Health Law 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 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; 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 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.
- 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 cannabis regulations, including: entity selection and registration, capital contribution negotiations, corporate governance and business operations, negotiating and revising commercial contracts and other corporate transactions.
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 five healthcare attorneys in New Jersey since 2011. Chambers sources describe him as a "distinguished practitioner,” lauding his "understanding of the law and how it applies to healthcare" as "exceptional." New Jersey Best Lawyers has recognized Mr. Schaff every year since 2003 and as “Healthcare Lawyer of the Year” in 2012, 2016 and 2018-2019, and he has also been included in New Jersey Super Lawyers since its inception and in the “Top 100” for 2007-2015 and 2017-2020.
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 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 serves on the Advisory Board and Editorial Board of several prominent business, legal and healthcare industry publications, including AHLA Journal of Health & Life Sciences Law, Bloomberg 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 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 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 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, 2007–2019 (Band 1, Healthcare 2011–2019)
- New Jersey Best Lawyers, 2003–2020; “Healthcare Lawyer of the Year” 2012, 2016 & 2018
- New Jersey Super Lawyers, 2005–2019; “Top 100” 2007–2015, 2017-2019
- 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
*Cannabis Law Disclaimer: Per federal law, under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is categorized as a Schedule I controlled substance. Possession, use, distribution, and/or sale of cannabis is a Federal crime and is subject to related Federal policy, regardless of any state law that may authorize certain marijuana activity. Compliance with state marijuana law does not equal compliance with federal law. Legal advice provided by Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A. is designed to counsel clients regarding the validity, scope, meaning, and application of existing and/or proposed cannabis law. Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A. will not provide guidance or assistance in circumventing or violating Federal or state cannabis law or policy, and any advice provided by Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A. should not be construed as such.
Active Volunteer, American Cancer Society, 2000–Present
Also of Interest
- March 18, 2020Michael F. Schaff and Lisa Gora to Present at NJICLE Second Annual Cannabis Symposium Live Webcast
- March 11, 2020Michael F. Schaff and Lisa Gora to Present at Pennsylvania Bar Institute Health Law Program
- February 19, 2020Opioid Prescribing: An AHLA 50 State Survey
- February 10, 2020Michael F. Schaff and Lisa Gora to Present at AHLA Physicians and Hospitals Law Institute