When Jacquelynn Richmond goes to work at Mercy, she’s not just walking into an office or a hospital. She’s going on a mission.
Mercy, a Catholic health system, refers to itself as a ministry, which has brought an aspect of satisfaction to Richmond’s work for the 22 years she has worked there.
“The mission-based work that I do feels meaningful in a way that a for-profit business would not,” Richmond said. “I’m not Catholic, but I’ve developed relationships with the religious women in the Sisters of Mercy. It’s amazing to see the work they’ve been able to do with very little.”
Mercy is one of the nation’s largest Catholic health systems with 25 hospitals in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma, plus numerous clinics and other organizations. As vice president and deputy general counsel, her practice of law includes employment, finance, construction and more.
“When you really are the client, you understand the needs and risk tolerance and you find that you can provide value in a lot of ways across projects that you just really can’t do as an outside counsel,” Richmond said.
Richmond majored in English and philosophy in college. But she knew she didn’t want to be a teacher, so after graduation she worked as a secretary at a law firm.
Inspired by what she viewed as an intellectual challenge, she went to law school at Saint Louis University. After graduation in 1990, she went to work in antitrust law at Bryan Cave in downtown St. Louis. The opportunity to work as assistant general counsel at then-St. John’s Mercy Hospital came up. She was interested in the job for both the work itself and the fact that the hospital’s west St. Louis County location would make for a shorter commute from her home in St. Charles.
“I had three small children and I was working downtown and before the days of a lot of remote access,” Richmond said. “Everything was at the office still… It was a challenging lifestyle. I thought that it would be different in-house and then it really wasn’t. My schedule was just as challenging.”
Despite the hectic pace, Richmond loved the work. She now leads a team of about 30 people. As a manager, she prides herself on taking a collaborative approach and focusing on building strong relationships within the organization.
“The sisters here talk about being faithful to the struggle and putting your heart into the organization,” Richmond said. “Their goal is to do the right thing. We’ve managed to grow the department, filled with people who aren’t just practicing law. They’re trying to make sure that the mission is achieved.”
Mercy’s mission also fills other aspects of Richmond’s life. She sits on the boards of several Mercy-related organizations, the Mid-America Transplant Foundation Board, and has been involved in the Ronald McDonald House.
She was unable to accept her Missouri Lawyers Media in-house award in person because she was in Nepal to visit schools and boarding houses she supports through the Mitrata Nepal Foundation for Children.