Ryan Marks knows that some solutions are better than others. And as senior corporate counsel at AMN Healthcare, an industry leader known for providing superior workforce solutions as well as staffing services, Marks helps develop impactful and effective solutions to the problems that really matter.
A San Diego native, Marks moved to New York to attend the Columbia University School of Law, from which he graduated in 2006. After developing his expertise in litigation as an associate at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, Marks and his wife decided to move back to San Diego—but not before traveling the world.
“We just wanted to take a break from everything and go wherever our airline miles took us,” Marks says. “We started in Morocco, then went to France for about a month, Israel for a few weeks, South America for about three months, and then to Florida before we landed back in California.”
But Marks’s world travels weren’t just a chance to relax and do some sightseeing. “Traveling really helped me reorient the way I spend my time and how I look at my career,” he says. Indeed, just a few years after returning to San Diego, Marks decided to make a major career change.
“I became unsatisfied with some of the inefficiencies that come with practicing in a law firm,” Marks recalls of his decision to leave San Diego law firm Jackson Lewis. “I have great law firm partners to this day and value them tremendously, but I started to get the sense that the problems we were solving every day as outside lawyers were not always a perfect match to the problems our clients were really concerned about.”
But by moving in-house, Marks says, he has been able to pinpoint and help solve the problems that truly concern the business.
“I have responsibility for providing advice in a variety of legal areas, but the core of what I do is overseeing complex litigation matters—high-stakes, potentially high-publicity issues,” he explains. “When I handled those matters as outside counsel, I had a totally different approach because my sole job was to either win the case or come up with some sort of successful resolution.
“It was almost like a sport,” Marks continues. “You either win or lose. But in-house, success and victory are more nuanced than that.”
In an in-house role, Marks explains, success can be determined by “what’s happening with the business, where our priorities are, which constituents are most concerned, and which inefficiencies the case may create.”
And at AMN, the company’s overall priorities always center on clients and their patients, Marks emphasizes. “We work with clients to help them really understand and find solutions to all of their workforce-related challenges, whether we’re providing software or managed services, finding temporary or permanent employees, or assisting with credentialing or analytics,” he says. “Litigation can distract from this central objective, even if we ultimately prevail.”
As Marks points out, AMN Healthcare is a premier healthcare staffing company in the marketplace. And the company wants to stay that way, even as that marketplace changes with the new digital staffing trend.
“I’ve learned that if you want to be approachable and a clear communicator, you have to be mindful of people’s lives, of their unique personalities, strengths, and weaknesses.”
“In a way, staffing companies like us are brokers, putting buyers and sellers together, and like it has in other industries, technology can streamline this process. There are a number of companies that have developed apps where nurses or other healthcare professionals can log on, search for jobs, and swipe left or right on the jobs they want. It’s like Tinder for nurses,” Marks says with a laugh.
To ensure that the company stays at the forefront of that digital staffing trend, AMN has been forwarding several projects aimed at synergizing its leading position with more advanced technology while simultaneously leveraging its internal talent pool.
And Marks has been fortunate to play a part in that effort, helping convene focus groups of healthcare professionals to help the company better understand how technology can make their work easier.
“We found some of our assumptions about the clinicians’ experience were correct but that many others were completely inaccurate,” he says, “which just goes to show the variety of experiences among our healthcare professionals and sheds light on all the different opportunities we have to make their lives better.”
But as Marks has learned, this commitment to understanding every aspect of a person and their work is important for much more than just healthcare staffing solutions. As a leader at AMN, Marks focuses on truly understanding each of his team members and coworkers. That helps him understand what they need from him.
“I’ve learned that if you want to be approachable and a clear communicator, you have to be mindful of people’s lives, of their unique personalities, strengths, and weaknesses,” Marks says. “You have to really engage with people if you want them to be excited about coming to work.”
AMN’s Number One Priority
According to Ryan Marks, healthcare workforce solutions aren’t the only area where AMN strives to be on the cutting edge.
“Obviously, a lot of companies are focused on diversity and inclusion, which is wonderful,” Marks says. “But I’ve found that we are particularly advanced when it comes to promoting D&I. It is not simply a factor that we consider in hiring outside counsel, a box to check, but a number one priority when deciding who to work with.”
Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete
“Ryan’s deep thinking, no-stones-left-unturned, collaborative approach to lawyering makes him a standout leader in this rapidly expanding industry and a true pleasure to work with. Congratulations, Ryan!”
–Sarah Kroll-Rosenbaum, Partner and Deputy Office Head, Los Angeles Office