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WJA 2021: Joy Harris Hennessy

One of Joy Harris Hennessy’s nominators can easily put into words the reason she is award-worthy.

hennessy_joyce_harris“Committed to delivering the highest quality client service, Joy approaches transaction staffing with a practical, client-oriented approach to assuring the client is getting excellent service in a cost-effective manner,” they wrote. “I can honestly say that Joy is a pre-eminent health care attorney who looks at every aspect of each transaction she leads and understands the complex regulatory issues that accompany deals in the health care industry.”

Hennessy, 50, initially looked to law school as part of her desire to join the FBI. But after graduation from Saint Louis University and clerking with the Missouri Court of Appeals, the St. Joseph native moved into a successful career in corporate health care law, a field she finds fascinating and dynamic.

“It is ever-changing and it is cutting edge,” she said. “It makes the front page of the paper all the time.”

After working for two firms and going in-house for a Los Angeles health enterprise, she came to Thompson Coburn where she is now co-chair of her practice group.

She feels her 14 years there have been deeply rewarding.

“I love the people that I work with,” she said. “I love the sophistication of our clients, the challenges of our deals, the complexity of the work.”

She also appreciates the variety her clients provide.

“It is never dull,” she said. “Their problems are always challenging and have a direct impact on care that is ultimately provided.”

Hennessy’s recent work includes her service as lead outside counsel to a major health system in California in its efforts to acquire the assets of an outpatient surgery center and ongoing representation of VillageMD in relation to its strategic alignment transactions.

Hennessy’s involvements also include the wider community. For several years, she was director and secretary of Launch St. Louis, Inc. Other credits include her activities with the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, where she served as programs director and board member.

She feels that the law provides a rock of stability to all parties in society helping to “set the guardrails” in a complex area filled with difficult issues.

“It helps identify an orderly structure in a world of chaos,” she said.

Hennessy’s other nominator said the key to her success is no secret.

“I can say without hesitation that I know why Joy excels,” they wrote. “Put simply, she cares. Joy cares about her clients’ goals, her colleagues’ success and her own reputation for being an ethical, highly respected attorney. For twenty-five years, I have seen Joy worry, dig in and solve difficult and sometimes seemingly insurmountable problems. She finds a way.”

Women's Justice Awards 2021