Post-Residency Contracts 101

At a recent post residency life workshop in New York, guest speaker Robert Stulberg, Esq. said, “Through your residency you have had excellent employment protections. The reason you’ve had those protections is that you are represented by CIR, which has negotiated a collective agreement for you. When you step out of your residency, all that will end.

“Although your bargaining strength may not be equal to the bargaining strength of your potential employer, don’t forget that you also come to the bargaining table with strengths. Some of these strengths include medical knowledge and training, your expertise in a field of research that can be used to attract government or corporate grants, and your ability to serve in high-need communities and build long-lasting relationships with patients.” 

Are you negotiating your first contract after residency? Mr. Stulberg offers tips below:


A contract is a bilateral agreement that contains a legally enforceable promise that is supported by consideration—the legal term that refers to any bargain—for advantage or disadvantage given by one party to the other. A valid employment contract for physicians should answer the following:

  • Who are the parties to the contract?
  • What are the duties of the employee/what position is he or she going to occupy?
  • What compensation will be provided to the employee? That includes wages, salary and benefits.
  • What is the duration of the contract and under what circumstances can it be terminated?


Physician employment contracts are likely to contain other provisions, such as non-compete agreements or restrictive covenants, malpractice insurance, and termination clauses.

Whether or not you will be able to negotiate changes to these provisions, you should at least be sure you understand what they mean so you can make an informed decision as to whether to accept the terms of the contract offer.


  • Speak to other physicians about the hospital or medical institution you are considering.
  • Find out what you can about the financial stability of the employer.
  • The potential employer is going to be represented throughout this process by an attorney; therefore, it would be to your benefit to consult with an attorney before engaging in negotiations and/or signing a contract.


Click here for more in the post-residency employment video series.

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