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Attorney Highlight – Terrance Henne

My name is Terrance Henne and I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and I am the managing partner of the Pittsburgh office of Mintzer Sarowitz Zeris Ledva & Meyers L.L.P.

What Is Your Background?

My background is in claims investigation and claims handling. Prior to becoming a lawyer, I was a claims adjuster for a transit agency located in Pittsburgh, who was known at the time as the Port Authority of Allegheny County. I started there when I was 18 years old, learning and investigating claims and worked for them and worked my way up, becoming a senior claims adjuster and then I went to law school, became an attorney, and became the chief legal officer of the Port Authority prior to leaving the Port Authority and entering private practice back in 2006.

What Areas of Practice Do You Focus On?

My main focus is civil litigation. I handle a multitude of different types of disputes involving employment litigation, serious personal injury cases, significant property losses. Any number of situations that our clients may become involved in where they require legal representation, I provide that kind of service. My focus would be trial work in the litigation process.

What Is Your Most Memorable Case?

There is one case that sticks out in my mind over the years. It was a case involving a woman who was working at the time as a grant writer for The UPMC medical facility in Pittsburgh. She was on her way to work, and she had stumbled and fallen in a crosswalk in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh. She was down on the on the street and a UPMC bus that was handled by a private entity ran her over. She sustained significant injuries. I represented her in the action against the employee bus company. She was probably one of my favorite clients ever and we got a very good result for her. To this day, I still get Christmas cards from her and occasionally, I’ll get a phone call just a checkup. What was interesting is I got to know her whole family through the litigation process, and her dad was a big-time gardener, so I used to get fresh tomatoes, fresh basil from their garden, and it was just a really nice family. That was a significant case that ended very well.

What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment?

For me, the moment that I thought I excelled was probably in 2000. I had been a lawyer for about nine or 10 years, and I was invited to apply for membership as a fellow in the organization known as the Allegheny County Academy of trial lawyers. That is an organization that selects 350 defense lawyers and 350 plaintiff lawyers, from over 7400 lawyers in Allegheny County. I was invited to join that organization and was fortunate enough to become elected to membership on the first ballot, so to speak, and was one of the younger members to ever have done that, given the fact that I wasn’t a significantly experienced lawyer at the time, but I had done for my age and level, several rather large cases. So that was recognized, and I was inducted as a fellow in the academy of Trial Lawyers, to which I still belong to today. That was probably one of the better moments in my career.

What Do You Like About Being an Attorney?

What I like about being an attorney is helping people. It is I tell clients all the time, that we as attorneys are like lifeguards, you better hope you don’t need us, but if you do, we better be there and be prepared. And that’s, I think, important, as well as the fact that lawyers and judges make the system work. The jury trial system is really the way we as a civilized society, handle our disputes. We don’t have jousting anymore; we don’t have duels – we have the jury trial system and I am a firm believer in the jury trial system. It is a cornerstone of democracy. All the attacks that our democracy has undergone in recent years, we still have the jury trial system. Is it a perfect system? No, it’s not perfect, but it sure beats whatever is second.

What Do You Like About Living in Pittsburgh?

What I like about living in Pittsburgh is the people. Pittsburgh is a moderately large city, but it’s feels like a small town. The people are very welcoming and very interested in what you do. I’ve lived here my whole life and it always amazes me that you could be in the grocery store, bakery, beer distributor, anywhere and everyone will talk to you about how are you doing? What’s going on? What do you think of the penguins, what are the Steelers going to do? All those kinds of things, and I’ve been to several other cities, and it’s just not the same. So that’s one of the things I like about Pittsburgh.

Another thing I like about Pittsburgh, is what we can offer. When you’re in Pittsburgh, we have terrific sports teams. Well, least almost terrific. We have a good football team and a good hockey team. We have plenty of things for culture. We have a great theater district in downtown Pittsburgh that is thriving, we have a number of outstanding medical facilities, great universities, and it’s all around a good area to raise a family and to be part of a family.

What Is A Fun Fact About You?

A fun fact is that I almost didn’t become a Lawyer at all. Years ago, before I went to law school, I was coaching a semi-pro football team. I got to be friends with a number of people that were in that business, and I was going to become a pro football Scout, which is somebody who goes around, and you spend a lot of time on college campuses scouting individuals that you think your team might want to draft in the upcoming NFL draft, things of that nature. I was really, really interested in doing it until I found out that as glamorous as it sounds, you spent about 50 weeks a year living out of a suitcase in hotels all over the country and it didn’t sound that glamorous after you really got into the nuts and bolts of it. So, I kind of put that on hold and decided I was going to go to law school instead.

What Are Your Charitable Endeavors?

There are two charities that are very close that we work with quite a bit. The first one is an organization known as Animal Friends. Animal Friends is one of the largest no kill shelters in the Pittsburgh area. They do a lot of good work rescuing animals and putting them up for adoption and fostering them. Animal Friends relies heavily on volunteers, and they are very, very good with their programs. They have opened and continued to add on to a new facility, located in the northern sector of Allegheny County and they just do an outstanding job for all the pets. They do good work with dogs, cats, and even bunnies! I volunteered there for a lot of years, started at the money room, and worked my way up to walking dogs. They are an outstanding facility.

The other charity that is close to us is the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. Today, it is just amazing to me, the number of people in our community that are struggling to make ends meet and to have decent food, something that many of us take for granted. Each year, I know in the office here we sponsor families for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. We participate in a number of activities throughout the year for the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. Both of these charities are very worthwhile and if you get the opportunity to support them, please do so.