Jeff Hendricks calls it the day the earth opened up, the day of his daughter’s birth. She arrived 14 weeks premature. She weighed less than four pounds, half of that a tumor. He has decided she deserves a bit of spoiling, given how hard her life was at first.
Halfway through her pregnancy, his wife began having contractions. The doctors at the hospital tried to stop the contractions and finally decided to do a C-section. During the delivery, Jeff recalls something like 40 people in the room, and not one of them congratulated him. “Everyone thought she was a goner.” Soon after being born, his daughter was sent to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for surgery. The kind of tumor she had occurs once in maybe 35,000 births. The doctors there had seen these cases before, but never one where the baby was so small and the tumor so large.
“The problem was that her circulatory system ran through the tumor, so her heart was working overtime to support two bodies. The last thing the surgeon told us before she went in was to expect the worst and hope for the best.”
“They tied off her major blood vessels and removed the tumor. The surgery took hours and she had to be resuscitated part way through. The doctors essentially cheated death. I paced the whole time. I must’ve paced 20 miles. My poor wife, who just went through major surgery to give birth, was propped up in a recliner in the surgery waiting area. I don’t like the lack of control, and this was completely and utterly out of my hands.”
His daughter was in Children’s for 102 days. Jeff says it was a long, hard road of successes and failures. It was like having a second job, he says. “You ask questions. You learn the terminology. You spend whatever time and energy it takes.”
It was the kind of experience that changes a person, realigns one’s priorities and compels one to stop taking much for granted. A crayon drawing from his daughter taped on Jeff’s office bookcase is his reminder, not that he needs one. All across his office, you can see other mementos that similarly serve as reminders of what is important, such as a picture of him and his son at a Reds game, a thank you gift for community service performed and other mementos of clients, family and friends.
One other item of note in his office is a miniature ball-peen hammer made of a silver-colored medal that sits next to his computer, something he inherited by way of his grandmother. Jeff likes the message it sends: “Go to work.”
“I don’t mind working hard and will always over-do. In my line of work, creditors’ rights, it’s in the best interests of the people on the other side to drag their feet. I don’t let them. I just stay all over them. If they tell me they’re going to do something, I’m calling five minutes after they don’t. I’m a pain in the neck – a nice, polite pain in the neck.”
“I take the job personally – when I lose, I take it personally. Losses kill me, whereas when I win, I’m just doing my job. So I work hard not to lose. If you’re going to handle a loss as if somebody punched you in the mouth, you’d think that when you win, it’d be like winning the lottery. For me, it’s not that way. When I win, it’s OK, what’s next?”
Jeff is the chair of the Firm’s Creditor’s Rights Practice Group. His practice concentrates in creditors' rights, real estate and bankruptcy law. He has experience in representing lenders of all sizes in connection with compliance and work-out issues on deals of all sizes for commercial and residential loans. This representation covers the spectrum of loan origination issues through the execution on a judgment obtained on defaulted loans and supporting financial institutions with issues pertaining to real estate acquired through foreclosure. He has experience in all forms of loss mitigation techniques and constantly assesses his files for the most practical, cost-effective result. He also represents court-appointed receivers, mechanic’s lien claimants and other parties enforcing contracts in state and federal court.
As chair of the Creditor’s Rights Practice Group, he is responsible for training younger professionals in the substantive area of the law and to keep the entire group informed as to developments that impact the financial services industry, locally and nationally.