Age 38 | Shareholder attorney, Ahlers & Cooney P.C.

Danielle Haindfield tries to set her schedule by the calendar, but a phone call in the middle of the night can change the best of planning.

Haindfield lives in a house of lawyers. She is legal counsel to public K-12 schools and community colleges. Her husband, Matthew, is a litigator with Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave P.C.

“How we schedule our lives is every month a calendar comes out and around that we try to fill in with kids activities and whatever we have going on,” Haindfield said.

When a trial is scheduled, there’s no break in the calendar. It is the role of attorney to the schools that can really throw things out of sync.

“It changes every day,” Haindfield said of her role negotiating construction contracts, student discipline, even a teacher who steps out of line.

Those sudden telephone calls – or maybe it’s a Facebook rant (it seems that in the social media age, no one calls the school first with a complaint) – can cause some sleepless nights, too, if only out of worry about what the two Haindfield children will encounter in school.

“Because of the nature of what we do, we only get the calls when something bad has happened. It’s easy to get your mind kind of twisted and jaded. … I only hear about 5 percent of what’s going on,” she said. “I don’t hear about the teacher who stays after school to help a student.”

Still, Haindfield is doing exactly what she wanted to do when she entered college. Her parents are school administrators, so she was steeped in the culture.

When she graduated from law school, Haindfield sought a firm that had a strong education practice. Ahlers & Cooney fit that bill.

She also has learned a valuable life lesson from the firm’s Peter Pashler.

“He’s always been able to show the balance between work and family,” Haindfield said. “He makes it clear that nothing is more important than family.”

Five reasons she’s a 40:

• An originating member of the Drake Law Women Alumni Advisory Board, which mentors and assists future female attorneys. Published several legal articles about social issues that affect schools, including vouchers and violence.

• Participates in Ahlers & Cooney’s community outreach programs for Children and Families of Iowa, United Way of Central Iowa, Youth Emergency Services & Shelter and staffing of Iowa Legal Aid intake program.

• Active in the Jordan Creek Elementary Parent Faculty Club.

• Selected to serve on the National School Boards Association Council of School Attorneys.

Mentor: Peter Pashler, senior partner at Ahlers & Cooney P.C. and a member of the firm’s management committee

Fun fact: With her husband, Matthew, she developed Docket in Your Pocket, a mobile application that provides access to court records.

Presenting the 2013 winners:

Desmund Adams, Principal, AdamsDouglas
Lindsay Alderman, Client operations manager, LightEdge Solutions Inc.
Erica Axiotis, Director of development, Mercy Foundation
Kate Banasiak, President and CEO, Diversified Management Services Inc.
Erin Beamis, Senior vice president of logistics and operations, IronWorks
Jonathan Brendemuehl, Marketing events coordinator, Bankers Trust Co.
Curtis Brown, Economic development director, city of Ankeny
Matt Connolly, President, Generation Green Builders Co.
Lawrence Cunningham, Director of business development, Catchfire Media LLC
Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, Director of community investment and initiatives, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
Josh Fleming, Digital strategy director, Lessing-Flynn Advertising Co.
Felix Gallagher, Principal, PharmServ Solutions
Lori Gelhaar, Director of career services/ corporate relations, Kaplan University
Tina Gray Carstensen, Marketing coordinator, Shive-Hattery Inc.
Shane Greenleaf, Vice president/commercial banker, First American Bank
Danielle Haindfield, Shareholder attorney, Ahlers & Cooney P.C.
Emily Harris, Patent attorney and shareholder at Davis Brown Law Firm
Matthew Harris, Division administrator, Iowa Arts Council, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
Angela Hilbert, Sales and marketing director, Deerfield Retirement Community
Joey Hinke, President, Miller, Fidler & Hinke Insurance Agency Inc.
Hannah Inman, Director of communications, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Keegan Kautzky, Director of national education programs, The World Food Prize Foundationn
John Lozier, Pediatric interventional cardiologist, Pediatric Cardiology P.C.
Dennis McDaniel, Police chief, Windsor Heights
Rachel McLean, Vice president/consultant, Ruan Cos
John Mickelson, Associate managing director, The PrivateBank & Trust Co.
Keith Olson, Commercial associate, NAI Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co.
Matt Ostanik, President, Submittal Exchange LLC
Benjamin Page, Director, Des Moines park and recreation
Dustin Peterson, Partner, McGladrey LLP
Nick Renkoski, Director of marketing and communications, Des Moines Metro Opera
Rachel Rowley, Partner, BrownWinick PLC
John Ruan IV, Vice president, financial institutions, Bankers Trust Co.
Jennifer Soma, Business lead, IDI Actuarial and Product Development Group, Principal Financial Group Inc.
Heather Starr, Real estate agent, RE/MAX Innovations
Aimee Staudt, Director of development, Knapp Properties Inc.
Courtney Strutt Todd, Shareholder attorney, Davis Brown Law Firm
Nikki Sylverson, Event Director, Des Moines Wine Festival Foundation
Howard Tempero, Experience design strategist, Spindustry Digital
Tony Timm, Executive director, Central Iowa Shelter & Services