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Name and title: Adam P. Palmer, senior attorney and director, Office of Legal Counsel Age: 31 The organization: The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is the product of the outrage over crimes against children that followed the 1981 kidnapping and murder of 6-year-old Adam Walsh in south Florida. The boy’s parents, Adam and Reve Walsh, launched the Adam Walsh Center for Missing Children. Congress later adopted the Missing Children’s Assistance Act, authorizing the creation of a national clearing-house. The center, created to fill that bill, merged in 1990 with the Walsh organization. The center works with the State Department in international child abduction cases. “In the early years, we mostly focused on abductions, but the exploited child unit has grown to be our second-largest department,” Palmer said. “In fact, Internet service providers are mandated by federal law to report to our cybertipline if they detect material that they believe is child pornography or child exploitation on a computer system.” The center has nearly 300 employees and runs publications and outreach to educate parents, children and professionals about child exploitation issues. A Web site, www.Netsmartz.org, uses cartoon characters to teach Internet safety. The center is registered as a 501c(3) charity and, according to Palmer, 94 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to its programs. Headquarters are in Alexandria, Va., with additional offices in Florida; South Carolina; New York; California; and Kansas City, Mo. Daily duties: “There is no such thing as an average day,” Palmer said. “My approach is to try to tackle the hardest project first.” Corporate needs and advice on criminal matters both fall within his portfolio. “Today, I don’t actively litigate, but I still do use my public-speaking skills” via seminars and training sessions for law enforcement, Palmer said. “I have probably the most diverse practice possible. We have all the issues that face larger companies but on a smaller scale. Whenever the phone rings, that’s the issue we’ll be working on for the center.” He reports to Ernie Allen, the center’s president. “The hardest part sometimes is to try to balance staff who want to jump into a mission with the need to protect the center. I’m asking them to step back a minute and think about procedures and policies. I want to make sure that whatever we’re looking at is the right thing to do.” Crimes live on: “With the technology today the Internet becomes a permanent record of that child’s abuse. We see children who are now adults, and yet the images that were taken when they were children continue to be traded today,” Palmer said. It’s impossible to remove all such images from the Web, but the center maintains a database, which is used for comparing images seized in fresh cases, and for identifying fresh victims. “Our position is that every time these images are traded, people are re-abusing them, even if they’re not touching the child.” Legal team and outside counsel: Palmer supervises two attorneys and two paralegals to handle matters ranging from contracts to the protection of the proprietary characters in the Netsmartz Web site. “We also respond to frequent subpoenas and corporate issues, being a large charity. Our goal is to be a trustworthy and well-run organization, so that individuals know they can trust us.” Two additional attorneys work in the separate legislative office, and another two work on international abductions; these lawyers answer directly to top management. Sidley Austin provides attorneys for on-demand pro bono assistance in intellectual property, employment and other legal issues, with additional pro bono assistance coming from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. ” If we had to use paid outside counsel, it would be extremely expensive,” he said. Career highlights: “A prosecutor recently called me to tell me he had gained a conviction because of my advice. I saved it on my voice mail, and every time I feel too busy to help, I replay that message” for inspiration, Palmer said. On the other hand, “working here definitely raises your awareness of the dangers that exist for children,” he noted. “I keep a picture of my 2-year-old niece just playing in the sandbox-to remind me that there are pictures out there like that, [of children] just enjoying life and having fun. My heart goes out to children who are abused, and you can’t help but want to do everything you can.” Route to present position: Palmer joined the center in May 2005 as a staff attorney and was promoted to his current position last year. Earlier, he spent more than a year as an associate with Collins & Lay in Columbia, S.C. Between 2000 and 2003 he was with the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General Corps in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, prosecuting criminal cases-including a double homicide and a difficult child molestation case-and advising senior officers on federal compliance issues. “I left the Navy because I wanted to continue to do trial work-being in the courtroom-and not go to some admiral’s legal staff. I worked briefly for a firm doing civil litigation, for about one year, until a position as a staff attorney with [the center] came up.” Palmer holds a bachelor of arts degree from Indiana’s Valparaiso University (1997); a juris doctorate from Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh (2000) and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii (2003). Personal: Palmer and his wife, Angela Schroeder-Palmer, like to go for walks, jog and spend time with friends. “We loved all the fantastic restaurants in Hawaii, and since we’ve moved to D.C., we love trying new cuisine.” They hope to start a family of their own one day. Last book and movie: Autobiography of John Adams, and Matchpoint.

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