Her journey as an advocate began with a career in nursing, nurtured from childhood by her mother, who provisioned her with nursing kits and costumes as a child. In her teens, McClain discovered an interest in law and politics. While she went on to pursue an education in nursing, she always felt her path would someday intersect with the law. She found her passion caring for obstetrics patients in labor and delivery, eventually moving to home health care for high-risk OB patients and then to a position as a nurse administrator for a healthcare company specializing in high-risk obstetrics. Identifying an underserved need, she obtained additional training as a critical care nurse, a field she worked in while attending law school at William Mitchell College of Law.
McClain spent her first year as a lawyer clerking with the Honorable Donald P. Lay of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Once she entered practice, she began advocating for plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases.
“Representing individuals whose lives had changed as a result of injury through healthcare became my passion,” she says. “With my OB background, I was well prepared to represent people who had issues with childbirth and newborn health issues as a result of birth. As a nurse, I gave care and a voice to patients. As an attorney, I am not only bearing witness to what happened, I am helping people receive justice.”
McClain joined Robins Kaplan in 2015, following a decade working alongside veteran plaintiff’s attorney Mark A. Hallberg in the firm they co-founded, Hallberg & McClain, P.A.
“I always respected Robins Kaplan. When I read malpractice case law, most of the lawyers behind the cases that set Minnesota law were Robins Kaplan lawyers – besides the lawyer I worked with. When I decided it was time for a change, I started a conversation with Peter Schmit, the chair of the medical malpractice group here, and it seemed the perfect fit for me.”