Stephen M. Fatum Partner
Stephen has counseled senior management and members of the boards of directors of medical groups, associations, hospitals, and health systems regarding governance structures, bylaws, operating agreements, mergers and acquisitions, reimbursement, compensation plans, joint ventures and federal and state regulatory compliance. Stephen prides himself on being a problem-solver. He analyzes and negotiates a wide range of agreements, including for professional services, employment, shareholder, affiliations, lease employees, separation and management services.
In addition, he defends physicians subject to disciplinary proceedings and is also retained to mediate internal and external disputes. Clients who work with Stephen routinely benefit from the depth and scope of his experience, as well as that of his partners who focus on other areas of the law such as litigation, tax, real estate and employment.
Notably, Stephen is the former general counsel of Advocate Medical Group, S.C., which at the time was a multispecialty medical group of 270 physicians practicing in the suburbs of Chicago. Before holding this position, he served as general counsel of the Lutheran General Medical Group, S.C. He also acted as assistant general counsel of Lutheran General HealthSystem when it combined with another health system to form Advocate Health Care.
Having worked in-house as general counsel for healthcare organizations and volunteered for five years as the board chair of a large mental health agency, Stephen has worked closely with board chairs, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CSOs, CMOs, and numerous other chief executives. He understands the business perspective and multidimensional challenges and financial pressures facing physicians and executives who lead health systems, medical groups, not for profit organizations and physician organizations.
Stephen appreciates the decision-making matrix of many organizations and how individuals wield power at all levels. He is committed to discerning the root cause of problems and crafting market-driven solutions that comply with the law and acknowledge the culture of organizations. Stephen’s experience and knowledge of the healthcare market help him to identify and evaluate what options might be possible, assess the likelihood of different outcomes, articulate a compelling business and legal rationale for his client’s position, anticipate and address resistance with communication, information and education, and reach closure and compromise when appropriate.
Valued by clients and colleagues alike for his professionalism, thoughtful questions and considerate listening skills, Stephen focuses on cultivating relationships of trust. He sees his role as a counselor in the full sense of the word, and strives to appeal to the best instincts in his clients and while framing issues in a constructive manner. He encourages clients to know their alternatives so he can help manage their expectations. Over time, Stephen has learned that when the parties seek an ongoing relationship they need to reach an agreement in which they both feel the terms are fair and reasonable to avoid resentment and sustain positive attitudes about each other.
Stephen offers decades of experience in formal and informal conflict resolution. He believes in striking the right balance of being firm, direct and compelling in his communications while also being respectful, credible and sensitive to all the interpersonal dynamics of people important to his client. He encourages his clients to step into the shoes of the other party in an effort to reach fair resolutions. He encourages the other party to step into the shoes of his client.
Whether behind the scenes, in mediation or arbitration, Stephen’s objective is to negotiate the best deal possible for his clients under their circumstances to help them reach their goals.
Professional and Community Involvement
Board chair, Trilogy, Inc.
Board member, Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School
Member, American Health Lawyers Association
Member, Illinois Association of Healthcare Attorneys
Former chair, Illinois State Bar Association Health Care Law Section,
Former adjunct faculty member, Loyola University School of Law, legal and business issues affecting physicians
The Best Lawyers in America, healthcare, 2007-2019