Profile: Joseph Hennessey, ‘07, Attorney, Dhar Law, LLP

MSL Alumnus Selected as a “Rising Star” by SuperLawyers and a “Top 100 Trial Attorney in Massachusetts” by the National Trial Attorneys Association

Attending law school is a tough job. Working as a police officer on the 12 AM to 8 AM shift is even tougher. Imagine doing both at the same time.

MSL alumnus Joseph Hennessey did just that. Upon graduation, he retired as a police officer after 23 years and became the Senior Global Investigator for Boston Scientific, then opened the firm of Defillippis, Kaldis and Hennessey, LLP, moving to his own practice about two years later. “In July of 2012, I started working with Dhar Law, LLP in the criminal litigation department practicing in State and Federal Courts. I am currently a member of the Suffolk Lawyers for Justice accepting cases in Roxbury and West Roxbury District,” Hennessey stated. “Our office prides itself on pro bono representation. I have been selected as a rising star by Superlawyers 2013 and 2014 and 2014 top 100 trial attorneys in Massachusetts by National Trial Attorneys Association.”

Hennessey noted that criminal trials are his favorite cases, and he relishes cross-examining a witness and presenting an opening and closing argument. “My first big trial was a bank robbery case in which my client was found not guilty,” Hennessey recounts. “The father of my client sobbed uncontrollably. To this day, the father calls me every couple of months to thank me.” Watching clients walk away with a smile and receiving a new client referral from a former client are the most rewarding parts of Hennessey’s job.

“I often get asked why I defend those charged with a crime,” Hennessey said. “I was asked by an insurance defense attorney that same question. My response was: how do you defend an insurance company from paying out? [The attorney responded that] he defends the company’s money and forces the plaintiff to prove their case. I often quote Theodore Roosevelt: ‘Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong, but finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the wrong.’ Not everyone is guilty.”

Hennessey says that balancing his schedule and ensuring that all court filings are timely made are some of the greatest challenges in his practice. “This is not a Monday-through-Friday, 9AM-to-5PM job,” Hennessey said. “I have worked with several new attorneys who got upset having to do work after 5 or meet with a client during the weekend.  I consider myself a workaholic.  I get up at 5:30 and walk my ten-month-old German Shepard puppy.  I’m on the road by 7 AM and at court by 8:30 AM.  I am usually the first in the courtroom, meeting with the District Attorney or my client to discuss the cases.  I am usually in court five days per week.  I am at the office prepping for the next day or drafting motions.  I have a 15-year-old daughter who plays club and ODP soccer so I am traveling to practices four days per week, working and making phone calls while she practices. Trial prep with clients and witnesses always takes place during the weekends. What I can say is that hard work always pays off.”

Hennessey recalls winning “Jeopardy” in professor Coyne’s class as an MSL student and says he particularly enjoyed some of the practical courses he took. “My favorite class was with Judge Grasso: Suppression Matters in Massachusetts. His class broke all of my fears of making an argument in a busy courtroom,” Hennessey noted. “Don’t be afraid to ask a question. No question is stupid. I found most attorneys willing to answer those questions. I had plenty and still do.”

 

Massachusetts School of Law's Mission

military logoMassachusetts School of Law's mission is to provide an academically rigorous affordable legal education emphasizing ethics, advocacy, leadership, and professional skills. MSLAW provides an accessible and affordable legal education to tomorrow’s leaders in law, business, and technology who seek to contribute to their communities as advocates, lawyers, and leaders. Lawyers have substantial influence in our society and MSLAW prepares its graduates to use that power to help their clients and obtain the societal advancement that a law degree has traditionally provided.

To accomplish its mission, Massachusetts School of Law brings together a diverse group of scholars, judges, expert practitioners and other professionals to provide individuals from all backgrounds a rigorous, professionally advantageous, affordable legal education so that they can improve their lives and better serve their communities.
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Massachusetts School of Law's Mission

military logoMassachusetts School of Law's mission is to provide an academically rigorous affordable legal education emphasizing ethics, advocacy, leadership, and professional skills. MSLAW provides an accessible and affordable legal education to tomorrow’s leaders in law, business, and technology who seek to contribute to their communities as advocates, lawyers, and leaders. Lawyers have substantial influence in our society and MSLAW prepares its graduates to use that power to help their clients and obtain the societal advancement that a law degree has traditionally provided.

To accomplish its mission, Massachusetts School of Law brings together a diverse group of scholars, judges, expert practitioners and other professionals to provide individuals from all backgrounds a rigorous, professionally advantageous, affordable legal education so that they can improve their lives and better serve their communities.