Family advocate recognized for taking on complex family law cases
By Beth Taylor
Leslie Henderzahs was recently recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers, a rating service of lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and personal achievement. This is the fifth time she has received the distinction; no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in Indiana are chosen by the research team each year.
“Families need lawyers who protect the interests of children and families for the long term,” said Henderzahs, after receiving the honor. “We develop strategies to promote agreements, preserve relationships and protect family assets. My firm genuinely cares about families, and that is a distinction from which our clients benefit.
“I focus on sophisticated and complex family law cases. I want our clients to begin from a position of strength so we can develop a plan that benefits the whole family,” she said. “As skilled and caring legal advocates, we help forge positive futures for families despite what can sometimes be a stressful and unpredictable experience.”
After graduating from law school, Henderzahs served the federal courts for two years. She was the law clerk for Honorable J. Patrick Endsely, magistrate-judge of the United States District Court of the Southern District of Indiana. She started at Church Church Hittle & Antrim in 1992 and became the first female partner in 1995. “There were eight of us at the time, and I was the only female,” she said. “My partners prided themselves in providing me with challenges and compensating me according to task. They treated me so well, beyond fairly.”
Henderzahs’ strength is litigation. “To win, you’ve got to be better at what you do,” she said. “If you walk into a room and the room is full of people who know each other, then you have to walk into the room and earn their respect. At the end of the day, the person who is most convincing will be successful.”
Henderzahs has never been phased by rumors of good ‘ole boy networks in other counties. “If I knew a county may have a network, then I would just be more sharply prepared,” she said.
During her 25-year career, Henderzahs says that the family dynamic has changed, causing family law to change significantly. One positive she sees is that divorcing parents are now making more of an effort now to create a successful environment for their children.
Henderzahs says that the most rewarding part of her job is knowing that she’s helping families. “It’s satisfying to see a client on the street and her say, ‘Thanks for giving me my life back. We were so unhappy,’ There’s nothing positive for a child when mom and dad aren’t happy.”
Henderzahs intended to work in products liability and injury litigation but found family law to be a natural fit. “I could understand some of the problems that the families were facing.”
As she built her career, she and her husband built a family. Becoming a working mother was a natural fit and added depth to her work. During the workday, she would focus technical arguments and rules of trial procedure to prepare her cases. “There are no higher stakes—you’re talking about children,” she said. Coming home to her three daughters provided the balance for Henderzahs. “When I walked through the door and the kids jumped in my arms, (work) melted away,” she said. “That’s exactly what balanced it for me.”
About Leslie Henderzahs
Hometown: New Albany, Indiana
Education: Indiana University, Criminal Justice; Indiana University School of Law, J.D.
Family: Husband Allen –Teacher and coach at Mt. Vernon; three daughters, Shelby (25), Caroline (23) and Madelyn (16)
Favorite vacations: Destin, FL