Jennifer McAdam is a team player and a team builder, whether she’s working with insurance companies on data privacy or enabling other attorneys to take pro bono cases.
She is senior counsel at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, a nonprofit organization that supports the work of insurance regulators throughout the United States and its territories.
“I really like how it combines public policy with typical in-house counsel work,” she said.
She began her legal career after graduating from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2007 and clerking for Judge Ron Holliger at the Missouri Court of Appeals for one year. She then went into insurance coverage litigation as an attorney at Lathrop Gage in Kansas City before going in-house with the association.
McAdam said she enjoys participating in public policy work, helping state insurance departments with legal questions and regulation issues. She assisted association members with enhancing data security and helped to prepare for potential breaches. She also works on data privacy issues related to insurance companies.
“I really enjoy where I am, and I like what I’m doing,” she said. “I think that as long as I can continue to practice in-house law and public policy work and get to do the volunteer work that I’m doing with the [Association of Corporate Counsel Mid-America Chapter], I’m pretty happy.”
As an officer and now as the president of the ACC Mid-America Chapter, McAdam founded and chaired its Pro Bono Committee, which helps in-house counsel in the Kansas City area find opportunities to provide pro bono services.
“We started out by sending out a survey to all of our members and asked them if they would be interested in providing pro bono work if they were given the opportunity. [We asked] what were the barriers to doing that and what kind of pro bono services they’d be comfortable with providing,” she said.
The survey results indicated that many of the chapter members weren’t informed about their pro bono insurance coverage, but that many were interested in doing pro bono work that is similar to what they do for their employers.
The chapter established the committee and decided to focus on helping nonprofits based on the interests of its members. United Way of Greater Kansas City partnered with the committee to set up nonprofit legal clinics with other partners, such as the Stinson law firm, the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law Entrepreneurial Legal Clinic, Legal Aid of Western Missouri and Kansas Legal Services.
One representative from each of these groups serves on the committee that plans the clinics, in which representatives of Kansas and Missouri nonprofit organizations meet with an ACC attorney and a Stinson attorney to address their legal needs.
“We had a super-successful clinic last June,” McAdam said. “We served 20 nonprofits with 40 attorneys serving those nonprofits.”
She also helped chapter members to obtain pro bono malpractice coverage if they weren’t covered through their employers. The insurance enables them to participate in the committee’s nonprofit legal clinics and other pro bono work. The attorneys offered pro bono assistance on such issues as employment law, contract law and employment policies.
McAdam said she now wants to expand the Kansas City pro bono program to Wichita and Omaha by partnering with local United Way and legal service providers in those cities. She also has assisted the Midwest Innocence Project by reviewing cases and helping its clients seek insurance coverage for false-imprisonment claims.