Lawyer Advocates for Women, LBGT Workers

Janet Hendrick urges employers to embrace inclusiveness. (Photo: Imani Chet Lytle)

Following the birth of her second child in the late 1990s, attorney Janet Hendrick threw the brakes on her successful legal career and became a stay-at-home mother.

When she returned to work more than a decade later, “I very much had to fight my way back into practice,” the University Park resident recalled.

The experience, she said, has likely helped fuel her passion for serving as an advocate for other women in the legal profession, and inspired her to become a frequent speaker on workplace protections for LGBT individuals.

A partner in the Dallas office of national labor and employment law firm Fisher Phillips, Hendrick was recently named one of Dallas’ Top 50 Women in Law by the nonprofit National Diversity Council, which promotes diversity and inclusion.

Hendrick has collaborated with the organization, as well as with the Texas Diversity Council, by becoming a panelist at conferences including the NDC-hosted Dallas Women’s Conference in November, and by helping anyway she can, she said.

An employment litigator who represents companies and corporations in state and federal courts and arbitration, and who counsels employers with how to comply with employment laws, Hendrick is a member of the National Association of Women Lawyers; Dallas Women Layers Association; the American Bar and Dallas Bar Associations; and the Collin County Bar Association.

[pullquote-left]“Just like everything in history, it’s going to take a while, but we have some excellent, very smart people fighting the fight.” -Janet Hendrick[/pullquote-left]

Fisher Phillips managing partner Michael Abcarian praised Hendrick.

“We are so proud that Janet was chosen to be part of this elite group,” he said. “Her contributions to firm clients and development of our Dallas office have been both exceptional and invaluable.”

Although diversity initiatives have become common, many people do not understand “the business case for diversity and inclusion,” Hendrick said. “The bottom line is … businesses should strive for their workforces to mirror those to whom they are providing services or products.”

That is especially true in the legal profession, where Hendrick, 55, said there is room for improvement.

While the number of students entering and graduting law school is split fairly evenly between men and women, “What you see is by the time they’re reaching partnership ranks, the numbers have dropped amazingly low [for] women who are still around to be making partner. And when you look at the equity partnership ranks, the numbers are even worse,” she explained. “We still have a long way to go.”

About issues faced by LGBT workers, Hendrick said, “I will tell you I think things are getting better, because people are talking about it so much more.

“People are just so much more familiar with the issues … and people are not staying in the shadows like they might have five, 10 years ago … We have some excellent, very smart people fighting the fight.”