About Joan Hennessy

Joan Hennessy Articles written 21

Articles written by Joan Hennessy

The Crisis at Hand

Stuart Knotts Skok’s unique knowledge of divorces involving children with special needs

Family attorney Stuart Knotts Skok has a philosophy that most don’t associate with high-powered lawyers: compromise. “Winning isn’t always the best endgame,” she says. Skok came to this philosophy during her divorce. Much was at stake—specifically, the welfare of an 8-year-old son with Down syndrome and an 11-year-old daughter.  “I was prepared to do whatever compromise in whatever way made the most sense, so that both of us landed in a good place for our kids,” she says.  Her …


Forget a sports car—Heather Hostetter and Amy Strent made the most of a “mid-life crisis” when they struck out on their own

By 6:30 a.m., Heather Hostetter’s youngest child is up, so naturally she is, too. Her husband takes the first shift with the year-old girl while Hostetter goes for a run with the dog. Not too far away, her law partner, Amy Strent, is up, too, taking her own dog for a spin and, afterward, getting her sons ready for the day.  By 9 a.m., both name partners in the family law firm boutique Hostetter Strent arrive at the firm in Bethesda, a Washington, D.C., suburb teeming with young, upwardly …

Masters of the Insurance Universe

Lorelie S. Masters is an insurance lawyer by day, social activist by night—and in 2014, the overachieving moonlighter added political candidate, too

From 9 to 5, Lorelie S. Masters of Perkins Coie is known for game-changing insurance litigation. A colleague says her knowledge of insurance law is “encyclopedic.” “She’s not spending a lot of time looking up answers,” says partner Tim W. Burns. From 5 to 9, she’s just as well known for her other job: advocate for pay equity for women, human trafficking laws, voting rights and other issues. An overachieving moonlighter, she added one more role in 2014: candidate in Washington, …

Not The Secretary, The Assistant, The Typist, The Helpmate

Even though lawyering is in her blood, in the male-dominated legal world of the 1970s, M. Natalie McSherry had to prove all the things she wasn’t before she could prove what she was

Long before M. Natalie McSherry was born, the man who headed Maryland’s judiciary dispensed with the notion of women becoming lawyers. The law, as written, simply did not allow it. “We are not to be understood as disparaging the laudable ambition of females to become lawyers,” wrote the chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals in a Nov. 21, 1901, decision. “It is for the General Assembly to declare what class of persons shall be admitted to the bar. We have no power to enact …

The Culture Changer

Personal injury attorney Salvatore Zambri remembers the most important thing about clients

It happened at rush hour on June 22, 2009. An inbound Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metrorail train slammed into the rear of another train stopped on the tracks. Nine people died. Fifty-two were injured. One of the injured victims, a young woman, recalled glancing at her ankle, dazed, as the train cars crunched. She noticed her tattoo was missing, along with most of the skin on her lower leg. A first-responder firefighter who arrived on the catastrophic scene described the day …

The Humanizer

Criminal defense attorney Rene Sandler has one job: defend

For months in 2013, the trial of Jodi Arias, a slim brunette with beauty pageant good looks, dominated the airwaves. Her boyfriend wasn’t just dead, he was good and dead. Shot in the head. Throat slashed. Stab wounds. As the courtroom saga unfolded, four analysts lined up in side-by-side camera shots that filled television screens across the nation. The subject: Arias’ journal. “How is it that you can believe anything that is based on a journal that we know has lies in it?” asked …

The Quiet Man

A family law case with Michael G. Hendler means intelligent dialogue and client resolution

The case looked like a disaster. A couple in the midst of divorce, with a multitude of unresolved issues, fought over everything, including the children and the disposition of a business. Despite this, remembers Cheryl Lynn Hepfer, a matrimonial lawyer in Bethesda, they came to terms and the case settled. For this, Hepfer credits opposing counsel Michael Hendler, who negotiated the proceedings with her. “He’s quiet,” she says. “He is not out pounding his chest or telling the world how …


Employment lawyer Kathleen Cahill shakes things up locally and nationally

William Blake, a decorated undercover detective for the Baltimore County Police Department (BCPD), is a tough man in a tough city. But six years ago, after testifying for a fellow officer and against the department, he was ordered to take a fitness-for-duty exam. He suddenly needed a lawyer and his union pointed him toward Kathleen Cahill.  “She’s a small lady,” says Blake, remembering his first meeting with Cahill, who stands 5 feet 3 inches tall. “But there’s a lot of dynamite …

Compassion for the Client

Amy Fisch Solomon takes on Bayer, Disney and the ‘learned intermediary defense’

On Sept. 22, 2000, 4-year-old Brandon Zucker fell from the Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin ride at Disneyland.  Trapped beneath the car for 10 minutes, the child’s 45-pound body was folded in half. His traumatic injuries, according to news accounts, included a ruptured diaphragm, brain damage and a fractured pelvis. The ride had no doors, newspapers reported that its safety bar wasn’t properly fastened, and bystanders criticized the time it took the park to respond. But the bottom line was that …

The Devil and Paul Mark Sandler

For the noted trial attorney, argument, in its scholarly sense, is central to his life

From an observatory on his farm near Baltimore, Paul Mark Sandler peers through a telescope at the night sky and is mesmerized by the order and infinite possibilities of space. “I can see the rings around Saturn, the moons around Jupiter,” he says. “I can see galaxies. I can see planetary nebulae.” His 14-inch aperture telescope is one aspect of a serious hobby. He is taking a course in Einstein’s theory of relativity and enjoys reading literature, poetry and mythology inspired by the …

Find top lawyers with confidence

The Super Lawyers patented selection process is peer influenced and research driven, selecting the top 5% of attorneys to the Super Lawyers lists each year. We know lawyers and make it easy to connect with them.

Find a lawyer near you