Our Blog

Nan Gallagher

Episode 31: Be Your Own Inspiration, with Nan Gallagher

Good afternoon everyone. My name is Lynn S. Evans and I am the host of Power of the Purse Podcast.

We should know that personal finance isn’t about being rich or getting rich quick. It’s about buying independence and freedom of choice. You are not alone as you struggle with being the perfect wife, mother, daughter, daughter-in-law, and all the other traditional roles assigned to us by our culture.

These pressures can feel overwhelming, and when we add the demands of a career on top of it all, many women choose to pass on dealing with money issues, until they’re forced to. And that’s not the best time to learn.

Here we explore the stories of women and how they’ve handled the demands of finances, family and career. We talk about falling short of perfection, but also about the lessons we’ve learned and the best advice our peers have to offer for financial security, and for putting our perceived failures in their proper place.

My mission is to help women have a healthy, positive relationship with money. With that in mind, my guest today is attorney Nan Gallagher.

For the better part of two decades, Nan Gallagher has devoted her career exclusively to the advocacy of healthcare professionals and entities. An accomplished healthcare litigation and administrative attorney, she focuses her practice on licensing, regulatory and credentialing matters in New Jersey and New York, all facets of administrative professional discipline, licensure actions, medical malpractice defense, medical staff hospital governance matters, general counsel services, state and specialty Medical Strociety representation, bylaws drafting and analysis, hospital summaries suspension and other fair hearings, hospital investigations, credentialing application services, employment and labor disputes and counseling. And so many other things that I just can go on and on and on. You’re just such an accomplished person and I say thank you for being on this podcast and welcome so much Nan.

Thank you so much Lynn. I appreciate the warm welcome and introduction. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Thanks. Let’s talk a little bit about your career, the things that you’ve done that bring you to where you are today with all those marvelous accomplishments that you have.

I would love to know what was it or who was it that inspired you to become an attorney?

You know, it’s funny you should ask, because I knew when we were going to be speaking today, I thought long and hard about that. And the answer to that is I inspired myself to become an attorney. My family background was such that I’m the youngest child of three kids. My parents are both high school graduates. We don’t have any other attorneys in the family. But my mother always said, growing up, that I made a federal case out of everything and I was quite argumentative.


So candidly, I suffered from a little bit of insomnia as a young child, under the age of ten, and in the ’80s when I couldn’t sleep, I would sneak downstairs and come sit with my mother who would be watching some programs that, you know the ten o’clock hour at night, like Dallas and Dynasty, Falcon Crest, L.A. Law, and I was inspired by a lot of the lawyers on those programs.

Well I could see that, yeah. Because it was so nice, and cut and dry, wasn’t it?

Yeah and everything seemed so dramatic and exciting in the field of law when I was growing up so it somewhat became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That’s really great. So which law school did you go to?

I went to New York Law School in downtown Manhattan, the location has since been moved after 9/11. My law school was damaged quite significantly in 9/11. I had graduated three months to the day before the towers fell. So they’ve changed the location and it’s gone through a large and significant upgrade since I graduated back in 2001 but I’m a proud alma mater and I’ve very happy that I graduated from there. I got an excellent education.

That’s great. Did you do any graduate work after that?

I did not. Once I finished law school in 2001, and the time throughout law school, I had been working in a law firm as a law clerk doing everything that lawyers do without signing my name on the documents. And then I had been encouraged to clerk so I entered into a judicial clerkship for a year which, according to the judge I worked for, was every bit of very similar to graduate work, because he was a bit of a slave-driver, but he gave me an excellent trial by fire into the realm of the court, very early on in my career, which inspired me to become a litigator and an administrative attorney.

Mm-hmm. And what judicial branch were you in, not branch, level, were you involved in, federal, state?

I worked for a New Jersey Superior Court judge, that’s the trial level courts, in Essex County, the civil division, which is Essex County. But anyone who lives in the geographic area of the Tri-State area will tell you Essex County, New Jersey is by far the busiest docket in the state of New Jersey. So every motion cycle, which occurred every two weeks, we were handling upwards of two hundred motions every two weeks. So it was a very, very busy docket, lots of attorneys appearing before us. I got to attend and observe hundreds of trials over the year that I worked there.

And I’m very happy to say that I clerked in that county because it really did give me a strong immersion into the field of litigation.

Wow, that is an amazing experience. I can’t believe you said that, two hundred every two weeks?

Oh yes, and one of the rules of the law clerks, we have to ready the papers for the judge to review. He’s not looking at these things until the day before the motions are argued, so really it’s the law clerk’s responsibility to present all of the parties’ positions to the judge before he even sits on the bench, and to tell him which direction she thinks the judge should rule. So it was a wonderful experience. I’m very lucky that I obtained that position right after law school.

That is amazing. I just can’t get over… First of all, from the perspective of you watching all the attorneys come in and present their cases, you’ve gotta look at that and say, “Well there’s a person I’d like to work with,” or “Forget about that one.” It was like an opportunity for you to do like Match Game.

Yes, and…

You get to see what everybody did and how they did it and decide, “Hey I like this person. I’d never want to work with this one.” That’s fabulous. That’s really good.

That’s right and that’s actually where, during my clerkship is where I became interested in physician-based matters. Many of the motions that came before the judge I clerked for were medical malpractice cases. So a lot of the attorneys who would come before us, they’re coming in arguing very significant and complex issues before the judge, tearing down these complex medical malpractices before trial. And I said, “This sounds really interesting. I like it.”

And my parents, when I was growing up, had encouraged me, because I did pretty well in school. They always said, “Maybe you should become a doctor. Or maybe you should become a lawyer because you make a federal case out of everything.”

So I found that following physician-based litigation, and administrative matters, was a nice way for me to combine medicine and the law. So I guess my parents, hopefully, can look back at me and say, “She really found a way to tie them both together, but we only had to pay one tuition for law school.”

Lucky, lucky parents. So that’s how you got started in the medical world. And how did you develop a practice around that? Have you always been a solo practitioner or did you work with other groups where med-mal was their kind of thing?

To answer your question, I have always worked at pretty sizable law firms. I have not been out on my own until just the past few months. I was indoctrinated into the practice of law by many older male attorneys who… at the time it was a male-dominated field. There is a growing trend where women are taking over, so to speak, in terms of the number of licensed attorneys in the United States. The majority is now female.

So when I first started practicing almost seventeen years ago, I worked for several firms over the years, where I was just one person. I worked mostly with men. Most of my clients were male physicians. And then over the years, having been an associate and working under partners in these law firms, and I had moved around to try to find a better opportunity at a few firms, and I wasn’t quite finding a fit that worked for me because of the environment, I did notice that the amount of my clients being male suddenly evolved and the majority of my clients over the years have become female.

And that’s supported by some of the statistics out there. If you look at the statistics in medicine, and I’ve done some studies on this because I’m in the midst of putting together a women’s initiative within my firm for female physicians, most graduates of medical school are female. Most of the graduates of the residency programs are female. In medicine alone, most people who become Board-certified now, are female. So women have the majority over men in medicine. And I have always just felt over the years that, well I have many male clients. I have a special kinship with many of my female physician clients. And I’ve always been told by both the female physicians and the male physicians that I tend to bring a level of empathy of sympathy or motherhood, whatever you want to call it, to my role as their attorney, which you often don’t see with the starchy, older male attorneys who helped indoctrinate me into the profession.

Most graduates of medical school are female. #PursePower Click To Tweet

Good point. Good point. When did this happen that women became the majority of graduates, and the majority of those in specialties? Board-certified?

The statistics show that as of roughly 2007 to 2009, female physicians outnumbered male physicians coming out of medical school and the residency program. And then I would see it in my client population. So at the time, for the first ten years of my practice, I was a med-mal or medical malpractice defense attorney. So I would see that the claims were coming in for male doctors primarily, for the first ten years or so. A little less than that. And then there was a turn and a lot of the claims were coming in for more female doctors so I thought, “Well maybe more women are messing up and more women are getting sued.” But that’s not supported by the statistics. The statistics show that the amount of graduates coming out of the major medical schools in the country, and abroad, are female.

Well let me ask you this thing, and I’m thinking about what you mentioned before about the fact that you’ve been told you bring more empathy, sympathy, understanding to the work you do than some of the men. Has there been anything, any one particular case that sticks out in your mind where you’ve felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction in having worked with that woman physician that you were able to help her do something she probably wouldn’t have done before? A resolution?

Yes, there’s so many but one good example was I represented a physician. I won’t identify her specialty, but I represented a female physician about six years ago and she was a resident at a major hospital in the Tri-State area. And she had been, to put it mildly, discriminated against and placed in a hostile work environment within her residency program. Her program director was a very domineering male doctor with a lot of connections within the hospital and political ties, and he was making advances toward her. He was threatening her. He was advising her at the completion of her residency program, which is by the way, Lynn, a critical component to getting proper licensure and credentials with all of the major insurance companies to obtain Board certification, etc.

So residency program isn’t just like an elective, simple internship you do. It’s a pre-requisite to many things you want to do as a doctor later in life. And this residency program director made her feel that she was dependent upon him to complete the program and he put her in some pretty untoward positions and overall she was afraid to approach an attorney to try to enforce her rights. And she came across me on the internet, which has become a wonderful resource for me to find clients, for them to find me. And she approached me and asked if I would look into her matter and see if she had any rights that I could enforce for her without creating a retaliatory environment. And I did that for her and we ended up, through a long process of having to sue. We sued that doctor who was the program director. We sued the hospital. We sued the health system.

And I advanced her claims privately. We used initials at the time so as not to smear her, or tarnish her reputation. And in the long run, through a full investigation, she ended up getting fully vindicated. That program director was fired. She was given money to compensate her for the hostile work environment and frankly, emotionally demoralizing environment she had been raised in. And I’m happy to say as of today, she has completed her residency program, obtained Board certification, and she’s doing really well in her career. And she knows now that sometimes you have to fight for your rights, and sometimes it’s okay to cause a little trouble, okay? Don’t be afraid of the consequences.

So she’s probably my most proud victory over the years.

That’s great. I was just gonna mention that I attended a meeting, and I think for my Power of the Purse Podcast listeners, you may have heard me say this before, there were some women who approached a women’s initiative, if you want to call it that, of the Philadelphia Medical Society. And these were academics who had some information about how women fare, and once they both finished residencies, men and women, how they can show as the years go by, and the opportunity for promotion or for any kind of betterment of their situation, that is articles published and anything that enhances who they are, significantly diminishes between the two sexes as they get more and more into their career.

So one of the things, I remember one of the male physicians saying, “Why is that so? Why is that happening?” And apparently it’s because a lot of women, given our culture, say things like, “Oh it’s just best to just say nothing and get through it and finish it.” But it’s that lack of willingness to go to the boards and say, “Hey, this is not working okay. I have to do something about it.” And to feel the sense that they have a right to do this. And so it just keeps getting swept under the rug. So I’m really happy to hear you say that this woman had the courage to come to you and say, “I think I need to do something about this,” because your willingness to take that on, your ability to handle that case successfully, and have that person fired, means that all the other women who come through there are not gonna have to put up with that again.

That’s absolutely right, Lynn. And I make a point of presenting and lecturing to many physicians and this isn’t strictly to discuss female physicians but I do lecture quite extensively to female physicians. And the other day, about two weeks ago, I was lecturing to a group of them on how to properly negotiate for their employment and to make sure that they were getting the same rights that their male counterparts were receiving, and not to be afraid to speak up or to actually make counter-offers. Most women don’t, at least psychologically, they don’t think that they can do that. They don’t think they can speak up because they’re either going to be tagged as overly aggressive, or the “b” word.

So it’s very important for me to let them know that you can stand up for yourselves and you can ask for what you deserve, and do it in such a way that you find it liberating. You find it validating and not to be afraid of what the men on the receiving end think. Because from what I have found invariable over the years, and this is from my own employment and from watching female physicians in the field, the men who have a problem with a woman who is outspoken or perhaps a little too intelligent or is a bit aggressive, the men who have a problem with that, they’re afraid. They’re threatened. So the problem is with them. It’s not with the women.

So I really take this issue very close to heart and I try to bring awareness to it in my practice.

And I think you’re right when you say that most women will accept the offer they’re given and just assume it’s either okay or it’s not. But they never see it as just the first round. They never see it as a point of negotiation. They always just accept it and say, “Okay, fine. This is what I got. I’m okay with this.” And they don’t understand that they can get more.

That’s right and I have never had an offer where I’ve gone back, for male or female physicians, pulled off of the table when we go back and try to negotiate for a better deal. Psychologically, no one is going to put their best deal on the table. Every agreement as negotiated concerning physician employment and physician stature, even if the other side says it’s not negotiable, every single agreement I’ve had my hands on, has been negotiated. And none of them has been pulled off the table when I’ve gone back with a few reasonable demands. There’s certainly a fine line between being reasonable and unreasonable, but women specifically, should be empowered to ask for more because, quite frankly, if you look at the studies, it will show that the men who are equally as qualified, with similar years of experience and training, are paid a large fraction more, or a large percentage more than their female counterparts.

Always negotiate. No one puts their best deal on the table right away. #PursePower Click To Tweet

Yeah. So to that end, you’ve been, as you mentioned and I know this to be true, that you’ve done a lot of speaking engagements to try to help women get a better frame of mind about this. So if people were interested in having you come to speak, how would they get a hold of you in that regard? Same way they’d reach you any other way?

Yes, well if your listeners would like my contact information, I can provide that now and then I can give you some resources online where I can be reached as well. I am the Director of Healthcare at the Beinhaker Law Firm, which is in Milburn, New Jersey. So we’re located at 33 Bleeker St., Milburn, New Jersey, located in Suite 210. And then I can also be reached by telephone at 973-229-7876. That’s the best number for me. Or email at nan@beinlaw.com

But also you can review my credentials on our website which is www.beinlaw.com or I’m happy to say I’ve just been recognized by a highly regarded attorney rating website called AVVO, which is A-V-V as in Victor, O.com. And I’ve been recognized as having received the Client Choice award as well as a perfect 10 in terms of my ratings. So on AVVO.com, if you look me up, it has a list of many of my presentations, it has my contact information.


And that’s a good resource for finding out more information about me.

And also that we want to add, that you’ve been named as a Super Lawyer in 2017.

I have. It officially hasn’t been announced yet.

Well it has now.

It will be revealed in April but it’s out of the bag.

Yes it is.

Thank you.

It is indeed and that’s just such a wonderful thing to be able to say that because I look at the list of Super Lawyers and they’re mostly men, so I’m glad to see that you got there. Yay for you.

Thank you.

Let me switch this over to something that I know my listeners would generally say, we’ve done these before and they yield some very interesting responses. So what I’d like to do now is switch this over to your background, your decision-making in regard to money and how that affected the way that you deal with your adult life now. So let me ask a couple questions to get into that.

The first thing I want to know, is what was your family like when you were growing up? You said you were the youngest of three.

I am. So I had a very interesting family life growing up. So I’m the baby. I have two older brothers and my parents have been married for fifty years. Both of them high school graduates. They put all three of us through very esteemed parochial schools and colleges and then I went on to graduate school with law school.

But growing up, it was interesting. Both my parents worked. I was a latchkey kid. So having been the youngest and the only girl, I will tell you that I became very self-sufficient very early on because the two boys were always playing together and I was a bit younger and did things myself. My mother stayed home with the kids until I was in about kindergarten, first grade. My father, who up until the time he retired, was a very higher-up vice president at a major banking institution, a multi-national banking institution centralized in New York City. I barely saw him and he’ll tell you that. If you were to call him, he would say, “My wife raised the kids,” because he worked such long hours.

But all in all, I would say my family, growing up, we were a good family unit but a bit distant, you know? My parents worked so often and most important to me was schooling so that was where my focus was.

Yeah, what kind of family vacations did you guys take?

We took one vacation a year, which my father got off two weeks a year working for his company. And he would take one week off for himself and then that other week, we would travel down to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. So we would drive down. My parents would leave in the middle of the night while the kids were still sleeping. We would sleep in the car and we would get down there in about twelve hours and spend a week down in North Carolina. But that was really it. We never really had elaborate vacations growing up.

Did you live in, not live in, rent one of those monster houses on the Outer Banks with other families, or was it just you guys?

We first started in the late ’70s, early ’80s, we were just staying in hotels down there. And then by the latter ’80s, into the early ’90s, we started renting the monster houses, with the beautiful beach view. So I haven’t been down there in a long time. My parents have retired down there.


I’d like to go and visit but I don’t get down there very often.

Well what is your first memory around money?

First memory I have, probably wasn’t a good one. So my father, who did very well financially, he was strict with money. He was very frugal, still is. And when my mother would… My mother loves to shop. I always tell her, “You love to spend my money.” And she would take me out shopping and I remember being 3 to 4 years old. We would go out shopping and then she would have me smuggle my purchases. Obviously when I was 3 or 4, she would purchase them but she would have me smuggle them into the house so my father wouldn’t see.

So I learned very early on and of course, the logic of it has befuddled me after the fact, but I learned very early on that spending money isn’t always a good thing, because it makes Dad mad.

But later on I realized, I don’t know why she would have me smuggle things into the house because he was the one reviewing the credit card bills so he’d know. In thirty days he found out anyway. But it’s not like we were buying lots of stuff. But that’s probably the first memory I have.

And then the second corollary memory to that is my father being very strict with finances, taught me very early on in my teenage years that if I wanted anything, and that included clothes for school, I had to get a job. So I went out on my own at age fourteen and got my own job. I worked at a dry cleaner, and I ended up staying there for about twelve years. I worked there all the way through after school in high school. On weekends during college, I would come home from Fordham University in the Bronx, to work at the dry cleaner. I worked there through law school on the weekends and then even through my clerkship. And then once my clerkship ended, that’s when I resigned.

But my father taught me if you want money for anything, whether it’s your own car, your own telephone line, or clothes, you have to pay for it yourself.

Okay, so did… Along those same lines, did you pay for law school, or did your parents do that?

I, frankly, had a scholarship, a merit-based academic scholarship for law school.


And then the balance of which, I have paid myself. So my father somewhere along the way, was told by someone that children should pay for graduate school themselves. So I, unfortunately, did not have the luxury of having my parents pay for that.

But, well, you probably also didn’t have a gazillion dollars worth of debt for college.

That’s right.

Yeah, so it kind of evens out, I think. I don’t know.

That’s right.

What lessons about money did you learn when you were growing up?

Similar to what I’ve told you. My father has always just instilled in me and I know in my brothers, that money is really not an entitlement. That it’s something that doesn’t grow on trees, you have to work hard for it. So, having seen that early on, smuggling things into the house that we purchased, or being told no. There was no flexibility. If I wanted a new toy, I got a no from my dad.

So these lessons that, maybe they weren’t the best lessons, but it taught me at a very young age, to at least have an appreciation for money and for the things that I had. I see it with my children now. I’ll buy them a toy and in five minutes, they’re looking for the next toy. And one of the things I try to do is tell my kids, and especially my older one because my younger one doesn’t really understand, but I tell my daughter, “Be grateful for what you have, okay? Have appreciation. Have gratitude. There are people who don’t have money.”

I do want to impart some of that on my children at an early age, probably not to the extreme that my father did.

Okay. Now does their father have a different set of money rules?

Does my children’s father?

Yes. Is he a spender?

No, interesting. He is a very hard worker, earns a very nice living. He has a different career path than me. I went all the way in grad school. He is a high school graduate who has a very, very good economically paying job. And he’s not much of a spender. He’s a little bit of an impulse buyer. So while he’s very good at saving money, managing money, we collaborate together, controlling our money and making joint decisions on things. But every now and then he’ll say, “Let’s buy a new mattress,” or “Hey, let me go buy this for our house.” So it’s somewhat impulsive, but overall we’re not big spenders. We’re what I would call minimalists.

Oh, all right. Well that’s an interesting take. Yeah. That’s okay.

The money… We try to enjoy money but we like to save it because we know college is going to be very expensive for our toddlers. We don’t splurge much.

What’s been the most threatening to your financial security?

You know, being a woman in a field that is dominated, in theory, by men, and accepting less over the years than I was worth. Somewhat similar to the female physicians I was talking about earlier. In law, it’s very similar. And over the years, I will say I, too, was afraid to ask for more. More salary, or I’d be working the long hours, I’d be burning the midnight oil. And there were times over the years at other firms where I was coming in on weekends, staying up late at night, driving documents to my firm at two o’clock in the morning because that’s when I would finish certain things so they would be on the desk of my secretary, and never wanting to ask the male partners I worked for to recognize that. I didn’t want those attorneys to recognize every little thing I was doing, but yeah, there were times where I wasn’t getting performance reviews over the years. I would be getting great feedback from clients but not great feedback from the attorneys I worked for, all of whom were male.

And so I will say that’s probably been the most threatening to my financial security because I definitely accepted less than I was worth over the years because I was afraid. I didn’t want to lose my job. I didn’t want to be out on the streets or having to say to anyone that I was fired. So only within recent years did I become more confident in my self-worth, both financially and emotionally, academically. And since I’ve done that, things really have blossomed for me.

Accepting less than what you're worth is one of the biggest threats to your financial security. Click To Tweet

Amazing how that works, isn’t it?


Yes, when you find your own wings, it’s amazing.

Yes, that’s a good way of putting it, Lynn.

Yup. Well all of you in my Power of the Purse community, these were invaluable insights and perspectives from attorney Nan Gallagher. All of which can help you move your career, your life, your relationships and financial freedom forward.

Thanks again Nan, for your time and your knowledge and let’s just repeat again, where can people find you?

Great, thank you Lynn. So I can be reached at the Beinhaker Law Firm. B-E-I-N-H-A-K-E-R Law Firm in Milburn, New Jersey. And the best number to reach me is 973-229-7876 or email at nan@beinlaw (B-E-I-N-L-A-W) dot com.

Thank you so much for being a part of this and to all my wonderful folks who listen all the time to Power of the Purse Podcasts, thank you again and we’ll catch you the next time. Good-bye for now.

How to contact Nan:

More Information on Nan’s Offerings:

Nan Gallagher has an empowering message for female physicians. For the better part of two decades, she has devoted her career exclusively to the advocacy of healthcare professionals and entities. An accomplished healthcare litigation and administrative attorney, she focuses her practice on licensing, regulatory and credentialing matters in New Jersey and New York, all facets of administrative professional discipline, licensure actions, medical malpractice defense, medical staff/hospital governance matters, general counsel services, state and specialty Medical Society representation, bylaws drafting and analyses, hospital summary suspensions and other fair hearings, hospital investigations, credentialing application services, employment and labor disputes and counseling, NJLAD, governmental and commercial health insurance carrier audits and appeals, billing and coding counseling and disputes, OIG and OIFP investigations, and HIPAA and regulatory compliance counseling. She is also a prolific presenter (live and webinar) and article writer/contributor on groundbreaking healthcare related topics affecting licensed professionals within the Tri-State area.


This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work! Please upgrade today!