Mark Zemelman

Mark Zemelman

Adjunct Professor

Part-Time Faculty


Mark S. Zemelman is a respected general counsel and executive with extensive legal and operational expertise at the leading edge of healthcare transformation. A member of the leadership team at Kaiser Permanente (KP) for two decades, Mark has deep knowledge of healthcare systems and structures and evidence-based insights on how to improve the quality-cost equation. He is known for building high-performance teams, including one of the most effective and diverse corporate legal departments in the US, and is a prolific author and speaker on integrated healthcare, legal functions in large corporations, and DE&I in the legal profession.

As General Counsel (2010–2021) and Assistant General Counsel (1998–2010) of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (KFHP), Mark was an important participant in the growth and transformation of KP in an era marked by the enactment of the Affordable Care Act; the entry of new healthcare competitors; and novel regulatory, litigation, and labor issues across the industry. He led or oversaw the largest litigation matters at KP, including class actions, False Claims Act cases, ERISA litigation, and payor-provider litigation.  He also oversaw KP’s self-insured malpractice program, which includes the largest private arbitration system is the U.S. He was the legal advisor to the Boards of Directors of KFHP and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals (KFH) for 11 years and a key voice on the management of legal, tax, and regulatory risks.

As General Counsel, Mark developed objective metrics for benchmarking the legal department against its peers and made the legal hiring process more standardized and rigorous, with national searches and an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Mark oversaw labor law issues regarding the largest unionized workforce in the US (40+ unions representing 80% of Kaiser’s health plan and hospital workforces nationwide); developed a successful litigation strategy in California (KP’s largest market) to reduce outside hospital charges; and was integrally involved in expansions, including the acquisition of Group Health Cooperative with 600K members in the Seattle area. After leaving the GC role, he partnered with the CEO to design and implement a next-generation operating model in Colorado and Washington (launched in June 2022) that will increase agility, efficiency, and competitiveness.

Mark joined KP in 1991 after working as an associate at McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen in San Francisco. He was also an associate at the Law Offices of Sanford J. Rosen, a civil rights firm, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. 

Mark earned a JD, magna cum laude, from the University of California, Hastings College of Law, and a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is a regular speaker at industry events and recently co-authored a book on diversity and equity in the corporate sector.


  • Administrative law
  • Arbitration and mediation
  • Contract and commercial law
  • Health law and policy


  • UC Law San Francisco, JD, 1983
  • UC Santa Cruz, BA