Member Spotlight: Abhay M. Nadipuram
Abhay is Vice President, Government Relations and Legal Counsel at the Iowa Hospital Association
Tell us about yourself
I grew-up in Waterloo, Iowa, and am the son of Indian immigrant physicians who are still practicing in Waterloo. I have an older brother, Santhosh, who is a pediatric infectious disease doctor in Los Angeles. He’s married to my sister-in-law, Swati, who is an aerospace engineer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). They have two daughters, Saanvi and Swara. I’m married to the love my life, Rani (or “Madhu” as some of you know her). Madhu is a neonatologist at Blank Children’s Hospital here in Des Moines. We’re expecting our first child in January, and cannot be more thrilled. I’ve spent about half of my career in private practice as a litigator and the other half as in-house counsel. When I’m not working, I enjoy bicycling and singing in the Des Moines Choral Society, for which I serve on the board of directors.
What are some of your notable achievements?
I’ve really enjoyed the various leadership roles that I’ve had since college. I served as student body president at Wartburg College and then in law school at the University of Iowa College of Law. In both instances, I felt like the team of people I brought together improved the lives of students on both campuses. I’m also proud of the work that I was lucky to be part of when I was an officer in the Young Lawyers Division of the Iowa State Bar Association (YLD) with regard to student debt and pushing for a new system for how law schools are ranked so rankings are focused more on outcomes than how much money law schools spend per student. Finally, I helped start the YLD’s Diversity Committee about seven years ago; and while we have a lot of work to do, I’m proud that our generation of lawyers has motivated others to participate and tackle issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal workplace.
Why did you choose to practice law?
I had a couple of older cousins I looked up to and they both enjoyed their jobs, so I decided to give it a shot. At the time, I liked the idea of helping people solve problems, which is essentially what lawyers do.
Did you always want to be an attorney?
No, I initially wanted to be a dentist because, while it wasn’t medicine (like the rest of my family practiced), it was close enough. Eventually, I realized that practicing dentistry wasn’t going to be a passion for me and decided to switch directions. I also studied voice at Wartburg and sang in the Wartburg Choir for four years. I thought about switching to vocal performance at one point (my brother was a flute performance major before going to medical school), but decided against it because I love music and singing, I didn’t want it to become my work.
What do you like best about your current work?
I get to help health care providers. Obviously, that’s personal to me because of the family I’m part of, but there isn’t a more critical time for hospitals and health care providers to be part of discussions related to health care policy. I enjoy being able to the megaphone for hospitals and health care providers to ensure that policy makers are making decisions based on all the available facts.
What advice would you give to newer attorneys?
For a while, don’t say no to opportunities when they arise. When more senior lawyers approach you to help with a matter, find room on your plate to assist. And, build and maintain friendships. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have my friends to talk with about the challenges of being a young lawyer. Wherever you work, treat the staff with respect and give them a hand when they need it. Finally, when someone goes out of their way to help you, make sure to pay it forward.
What do you do to get away from work?
A few years ago, I picked up bicycling, and that’s become sort of an addiction. This summer, I was close to reaching 2,000 miles. I also love music and enjoy singing with a great group of singers who make-up the Des Moines Choral Society. I also enjoy serving on non-profit boards, following politics, and spending time with family and friends.
What is the best thing about the Polk county Bar Association?
PCBA is a relatively smaller bar association, which means the events are a little smaller, which means it’s easier to meet people and build relationships.
Best place to visit in Polk County?
Pappajohn Sculpture Park.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor and why?
My parents. They immigrated to this country when they were in their late 20s without a lot, wanting to advance their education and help people. Their parents were an ocean and continents away and they had no idea the next time they were going see them. Since then, they’ve had amazing medical careers, raised two kids, have two grandchildren, and still love their jobs today. What else could you ask for?
What is your favorite book?
The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
What songs would you include on the soundtrack to your life?
Too many, but some of the songs would include “No Problem” by the Chance the Rapper, “GO!” by Common, and “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck (which I had the good fortunate of hearing live in 2010, before Brubeck passed away).
Words to live by?
This is the latest in a series of features spotlighting PCBA members. If you would like to nominate a fellow PCBA member for future spotlights, contact Joni Ploeger.