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.