Lawyers for Dentists: Who Are They? What Do They Do?

lawyers for dentists

The legal and dental industries are different in many ways, but similar in an important aspect: there are generalists and specialists. In the dental industry, there are general dentists and the various subspecialties of dentists focus on certain types of patient care. In the legal industry, there are general attorneys, usually solo practitioners and those at small firms, and there are attorneys that specialize in different types of law and different industries. For example, an attorney might specialize in resolving business disputes or structuring financial transactions. It is important to understand an attorney’s background and whether that attorney is qualified for the scope of the engagement. Our firm specializes in supporting private practice dentists nationwide. 

Hiring the right attorney is appropriate. A good attorney will provide general legal and business advice, ensure that transactional documents protect the client, and guide clients over and around regulatory questions and hurdles. Even among attorneys with experience in the dental industry, the attorneys may differ by experience with transitions, partnerships, regulatory compliance, employment law, and dispute resolution. Our attorneys have deep experience in these fields and our firm provides comprehensive support.

Buying or Selling a Dental Practice

A transition refers to the purchase and sale of a dental practice. These transactions involve the sale of the practice or its assets, financial structuring, legal due diligence, staffing issues and concerns, real estate ownership and/or leasing, and risk mitigation. The best dental attorneys will understand how these components fit together, protect their clients, and facilitate an efficient closing to the practice. Hiring a dental attorney with experience in buying or selling a dental practice will help you ensure your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed through the acquisition process.

More complicated deals may also include partnerships, associate buy-ins, multi-tenant office leasing and ownership issues, bankruptcy, family law, tax matters, and corporate entity formation. Our firm completes, on average, hundreds of transitions each year and is a leader in this industry.  

Compliance Made Easy

Legal compliance is important. Dentists face a raft of legal compliance and regulatory issues that must be explained and understood as they step into business ownership. These issues include labor and employment laws, data protection, the Americans with Disabilities Act, HIPAA compliance, and anti-referral laws. Practitioners should ensure their counsel understands the intersection of the applicable regulatory framework to protect their personal, family, and business interests. 

For example, a good attorney should understand the application of state law to restrictive covenants in an employment or independent contractor agreement. The practitioner should be advised on what works and what would be prohibited under state law. Missing this issue, and others like it can lead to headaches, disputes, and significant legal costs. And understanding who may qualify as an independent contractor and who must be classified as an employee is equally important – otherwise, the business owner may be subject to substantial fines and penalties. 

Achieving compliance can be a challenge, but it is important. If your practice is not compliant and adhering to wage and hour laws, rules, and regulations, the practice and its owner may be subject to civil lawsuits and additional fines and penalties. Exposure can range from a headache to a business-threatening fine. Hiring lawyers specializing in dentistry will help your practice operate without a hitch.

Contracts and Disputes 

In addition to advising on regulations, dentist lawyers can also help with contract disputes or negotiations with vendors or insurers. If you require assistance in resolving a dispute over billing or services rendered, a lawyer who understands the nuances of dispute resolution can provide invaluable guidance and protection. Similarly, when entering into contracts with vendors or insurers, having an experienced attorney review the document can prevent misunderstandings or unexpected costs, saving you time and money in the long run. 

Access to experienced attorneys is crucial for running a successful dental practice, whether it involves handling partner disputes or ensuring compliance with health care regulations. Lawyers for dentists possess intimate knowledge of both aspects of this industry and can provide invaluable guidance to ensure the smooth operation of your business while protecting you from potential liability issues in the future.


Experienced attorneys add value. The attorneys at Wood & Morgan provide proactive advice to our clients to prevent issues from arising or resolving them quickly before they get out of control. We review and negotiate contracts for new staff members or partner with other medical professionals, perform background checks, work with clients on labor and employment issues, advise on pre-litigation dispute resolutions, and negotiate on your behalf to protect your interests.  

Having a lawyer for dentists who possesses a deep understanding of how these laws specifically apply to dentistry will ensure peace of mind, knowing that your practice operates in accordance with all relevant guidelines.

Searching for a dental lawyer? Contact our team to get started with a free consultation today.