I felt a sense of personal loss when I heard the news that Jennifer Jaff had passed away. She had written articles for EmpowHER for a time and I had the pleasure of working with her briefly.
As I learned more about Jaff's life, I saw that there was so much more to this remarkable woman than I had realized.
A profoundly wounded warrior herself, she nevertheless threw herself full force into battle over decades, for others who were also chronically ill.
Jaff was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when she was 19 years old and attending college. Crohn's is an autoimmune condition. The body attacks itself, resulting in chronic inflammation and pain in the gastrointestinal tract.
But Crohn's didn't stop Jaff from becoming a lawyer. She received a bachelor's degree from Queens College of the City University of New York.
In 1984, she graduated with honors from Georgetown University Law Center after she had earned membership in phi beta kappa along with many awards.
At Georgetown, Jaff was on staff at the Georgetown Law Journal. Here she published more than a dozen law review articles about women's rights and health care fraud.
For four years after graduation, Jaff taught at Vermont Law School and University of Miami School of Law.
Jaff clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for Judge Danny J. Boggs, learning a great deal about judicial decision-making.
In 1990 after her clerkship, Jaff went to Connecticut where she became an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut Law School. She taught and practiced Administrative Law, Civil and Political Rights, and Women and Law, publishing articles in these areas as well.
She spent five years in the Connecticut attorney general's office. While there she worked in health care and social services, and created a health insurance consumer-advocacy program, negotiating with health insurance companies and HMOs.
She left there for two years to lobby Congress for national women's organization in Washington D.C. and was a partner in the Sprenger & Lang, PLLC, law firm.