Pressley Henningsen

Who are you?

My name is Pressley and I am a trial lawyer. The only thing I am before that is a father of my two sons.  I have worked hard to live authentically in all aspects of my life. I always try to grow and learn. This has been true in my lawyering as well as my personal life – they are, in many ways, one in the same – because I am who I am, whether at home, meeting with clients, or in the courtroom.

I have practiced law since 1996 and have experienced many unique cases and trials. My path has led me to the undeniable conclusion that as much as might have preferred to be an artist, this is my vocation and I do my best to make it artful and meaningful and I paint and enjoy the arts in other ways.

I started my practice in a small, rural town – doing everything from estate work and fence disputes to divorces. I am extremely grateful that I began in such a setting. It was humbling to be important to my small town and farmer clients. They are good people. I myself enjoy my acreage and using my tractor every day – usually to move horse manure. Moving such materials from time to time keeps you grounded. I do not mind getting my hands dirty and working.

I am a trial lawyer.   While many cases still settle and there is nothing wrong with that,  you need a lawyer who actually goes into the courtroom and takes cases before juries.  If you have a case worth anything significant to you, the number one requirement,  in my opinion, is that you actually hire a trial lawyer – not someone who never takes a case to an actual trial.   If you hire someone who does not go to trial at least some of the time, how can you expect them to do a good job for you if that is where you end up?  How can you expect the insurance company to respect your attorney if that attorney seems to avoid the courtroom in every situation?   I am not the only trial lawyer in Iowa.  There a few of us out there – but you might be surprised to find how few were actually before a jury in the last year.  Regardless, find the one that you like and trust.  Just make sure they will go all the way if that’s what it takes to get a fair result and hold the wrongdoer accountable.  Hopefully you won’t have to go all the way to trial – but you just may, and you don’t want to pay the price for making the wrong decision on the front side of your case.

How do you relate to your clients?

The importance of family helps all of us keep things in perspective – in both good times and tough times. My clients know this second part all too well. In addition, health and time are my client’s most valuable assets. I can relate to this truth. It never ceases to weigh on me – how much my clients are hurt by the actions of another.

This motivates me to do my best. I wish I could simply “fix” everything that has gone wrong; everything that has been lost or broken would be magically replaced. But I will not tell my clients things just to make them feel better.

I speak the blunt truth. This means I will say things that some people do not want to hear. But I have found sugarcoating does not do my clients any good.

What motivates you?

Does anyone really like bullies? I sure don’t. I still cannot completely figure out why there seem to be so many of them if we don’t like them.

Anyhow, I have always had an innate awareness of fairness and a strong dislike for those who take advantage of others. I remember clinging to the cold steel of the monkey bars, fighting the recess bully who demanded my friend pay money to play with them – I’d be damned if he was going to hand over that crinkled dollar bill for something that should be freely given.

I still have a scar in my scalp when those bullies hit me with the soda can full of sand but my friend didn’t pay that dollar. I consistently find myself fighting alongside those without much power.

This awareness has led to me to my true path. It has not been easy; I will not back down.

What are your challenges?

I am not always tactful or graceful. I also hate losing. Being blunt, I have offended when I should not have done so, and there have even been rare times when I should have spoken up instead of remained silent. I will keep learning. I will not be arrogant and overlook opportunities to get better at what I do.

My greatest challenges have been learning how to maneuver and operate in a world when so much seems to be geared toward holding my clients down; I do not feel alone, but I do feel we are outnumbered. In overcoming these challenges, I have done my best to find and recognize greatness in others and learn from them and I also am fortunate to work with so many skilled folks.

What is important to you?

My dream is that by the time this world is done with me I will be a good man. I hope that I will have helped people along the way. I hope that I am known and loved by my family. I want to be remembered as someone who stood up to those who chose to take advantage of others, hopefully moving us all toward something better.

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