The Quiet Man
A family law case with Michael G. Hendler
means intelligent dialogue and client resolution
BY JOAN HENNESSY
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LUIGI CIUFFETELLI
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
great he is. And he is highly regarded.”
His firm, Adelberg, Rudow, Dorf & Hendler,
has represented political figures, sports
figures and lawyers, and for these people, the
less said the better. Hendler obliges.
He is old-school at first glance, a gray-haired lawyer in suit and tie. He speaks
in the cautious manner of a man who
understands the weight of words. He does
not name-drop. He does not talk out of
school. He does not discuss his cases,
period. His philosophy is simple.
“In family law,” he says, “the most
successful cases are the ones you don’t
HENDLER, 70, IS A LIFELONG
Baltimorean and an embodiment of the
American dream. His paternal grandparents
were immigrants and butchers. His mother,
Florence, worked with the local B’nai B’rith
chapter, while his father, Nathan, became
an auxiliary firefighter during World War II.
Nathan would have pursued an education
if not for the Great Depression; instead, he
and his brother sold chickens at a stall at
the Lafayette Market. By the time Michael
was 13 years old, he worked at the family
business Saturdays during the school year
and every day during the summer. He gutted
and cut up chickens in the back and served
customers at the counter. He swept the floor.
When old enough, he drove a delivery truck.