Many attorneys make changes in their career but Tamar Hodges says her move from working as a nurse to becoming a lawyer wasn’t as dramatic a shift as it might seem.
“There is always a patient or a series of patients that I was assigned to care for so it was my job to make sure that I delivered the best care and made sure they were safe,” said the 32-year-old native St. Louisan. “Every role that I’ve had as a lawyer there has been a patient at the end of whatever business transaction — anything that I’ve done since I’ve been in the health care arena. I like that there is always a patient at the end.”
Initially inspired to examine the legal world through participation in mock trial in high school, Hodges would eventually choose nursing but ultimately met a fellow nurse who also had a J.D.
“I thought ‘oh wow I didn’t think I could combine the two.’ I hadn’t given law school anymore thought,” she said.
Her first job after graduation from Mizzou was doing medical malpractice defense at Sandberg Phoenix. Later, she’d become a risk manager for SSM Health before being recruited to Husch Blackwell. Since last year, she’s worked as associate general counsel and integrity and compliance officer at Mallinckrodt where she also handles the duties of the data privacy officer.
“What I really enjoy is being able to learn more about the business,” Hodges said. “When you work in a law firm you represent clients and you learn something about their business but here in my current job I have the ability to learn about financial aspects of the business.”
Plus, she still gets to make a difference with patients.
“When I’m making sure that our manufacturing complies with DEA regulations, there’s a patient who is taking our product at the end of that,” she said. “I’m still having an impact, just in a different way.”
She still thinks society has a way to go before it achieves full equity but expressed optimism at seeing Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed to the United States Supreme Court. She said she’d heard Jackson speak before on maintaining equilibrium between work and family at a Washington, D.C. diversity retreat with Husch Blackwell.
“She did a phenomenal job and was very inspiring talking about striking the balance between being a mom, a wife and a successful attorney,” Hodges said. “I knew then at that moment that she was a special person.”