For nearly 14 years, Osseo attorney Richard Hendrickson has been quietly offering moral support and assistance to lawyers who have directly suffered workplace violence.
Hendrickson’s charitable outreach was sparked by his own brush with death: On Sept. 29, 2003, a disturbed party to a conservatorship case shot him at point blank range in the neck on the 17th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center. Hendrickson’s client was murdered in the attacks but he survived.
“The shooter was my client’s cousin.” Hendrickson recalled. ”I was extremely lucky. Thanks to the staff at the Government Center, the paramedics and the fantastic folks at HCMC (Hennepin County Medical Center), I lived. And I was not a quadriplegic. I could walk, I could drive a car, I could hug, I could dance. I was able to move forward.”
“If one is lucky enough to have gotten through that, life ahead can be good,” Hendrickson continued. “You probably have PTSD. But you can get through it! Like me, you have support from all who care.”
Grateful for all the physical and moral support from the Minnesota State Bar Association and other attorneys following his attack, Hendrickson, since his recovery, has been returning the favor, serving in Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.
“Rick has quietly reached out to many Minnesota lawyers over the years who have suffered greatly because of violent trauma or attacks on them by dangerous individuals,” Todd C. Scott, a vice-president at Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Co, said in his Attorney of the Year nomination of Hendrickson.
“Most recently, Rick has been helping the lawyers of a St. Paul firm deal with their survivor’s guilt after a staff member was shot and killed last April by a client of the firm,” Scott added.
Hendrickson, a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law, began his solo practice in 1980 and has also served as a mediator since 1990. He primarily represents individuals and small businesses. Through the years, Hendrickson has willingly shared with other attorneys his knowledge about estate planning guardianships, civil litigation, probate and business development, Scott said.
Hendrickson said the 2003 shooting gave him a new perspective on life. “With wisdom gained from 35 years of experience, I help clients understand the long-term significance of the current litigation. No matter how traumatic their current matter is; this too shall pass. Life continues.”