Forest (“Trey”) W. Hanna, III

I’m Trey Hanna.  I founded The Hanna Law Firm, a boutique giving very high service to a small group of clients.   I’m a third generation Kansas City Lawyer.   From 1989 to 2007, I practiced litigation and trials (and got good at it).   But I was passionate about something else. 

Since 2007, I have been managing family wealth, real estate, and building my skills and expertise in the four types of law practice that are described on this site.  They overlap and fit together, like four sub-parts of one large realm of a client’s life.  I’m fascinated by them, and strive to deepen my expertise every day.  

I focus on Kansans and Kansas law.  My office is in Lenexa, but I represent clients from all over Johnson and many other surrounding counties.  My clients are nearly all referred to me by friends and satisfied former clients.   My clients become my friends, and they carry my cell phone number.  They know they can get me evenings and weekends, if needed, and that I’ll make house or hospital calls when truly needed.  I don’t generally work with total strangers who just stumble across my website, but assuming you heard my name from any friend or colleague, then let’s talk about how I can assist you.  Below is more about me.

Well-Rounded Resume, in Four Phases: 
I’ve learned an incredible amount over four complementary phases of my career.  First, I was a junior associate in one of KC’s biggest law firms.  Next, I was In-house Counsel in the legal department of a very big Kansas corporation.
Then, I spent nine years of public service as a Senior Assistant to the Missouri Attorney General (Jay Nixon), Missouri’s chief law enforcement officer.  I headed up the “Charitable Trusts and Non-Profit Corporations Unit.”   We enforced the rules and regulations of charitable trusts, helped trustees learn how to comply in good faith, and provided guidance on trust management issues.  (I also did Civil Prosecutions of scammers, cheats and frauds in the Consumer Protection Division.   Very “white hat,” chasing the bad guys, defending innocent victims.  It was hard work, but fun.  We never lost, but sometimes the judgments were non-collectible (i.e., scammers often hide or spend the money, fast).  In total, I have 17 years’ experience in trials, and I love advocating in front of a judge or jury, for a client who is in the right, or who is being taken advantage of.

Next, I spent six years as a Trust Officer at a huge trust company (U.S. Trust), managing families’ wealth, including their Commercial Real Estate (CRE) holdings.   I learned a tremendous amount trust management, trust administration, professional trustees, and the ways that trustees can get into trouble (and how to avoid that!) 

Ever since then, I’ve been in the private practice of law, specializing exclusively in Estate Planning for both affluent and wealthy families, and Kansas Probate Estates.  (See descriptions, other pages of this site).   

Trial Results:  While a Senior Assistant to the Missouri Attorney General, I first-chaired a major federal employment discrimination case, and won a defense verdict for the employer.   I prosecuted consumer fraudsters, and won the largest verdict in Missouri’s history in any “long distance slamming scam” case, then won the largest verdict in Missouri’s history in a “Vacation Travel Scam” case.  In each, it felt fantastic to be fighting for the innocent victims, who had no other recourse.
Mediation and Negotiation:  I’m experienced and skilled at Negotiation, Mediation, and Dispute Resolution.  When important to a client, I’m good at bridge building, avoiding fractured families, helping facilitate the family healing, or at least not make it worse.  It’s a delicate art, and many clients care very much about that outcome, alongside the goals of protecting their rights and achieving the legal result they want.   But for other clients who are mad and want an aggressive “bulldog” in fiduciary litigation, I’m perfectly capable and effective at that approach, as well.  We’ll talk first, to make sure you’re really OK with any additional harm that such a litigation posture might cause, long term to your family relationships. 

Ancient [Law School] History:  I was elected a member of The Missouri Law Review (1989), and a member of The Missouri Journal of Dispute Resolution (i.e., negotiation, mediation, arbitration, etc) (1988).  I graduated top 15% of my law school class. 

Personal:  I worry too much and sweat the little stuff more than I should.  “Balance” of all life’s pieces is by far the hardest goal.   I keep trying, and keep falling short; law practice is pretty all-consuming, at times.  I’m not always time efficient in the “business side” of running a law firm.  I often give too much time to the details of clients' matters, and don’t charge for all that time.  That reduces my profitability, but does lead to very grateful clients who go tell their friends about me, leading to more referrals.  This will never make me rich in dollars, but hey, perhaps “rich in happy clients who like me” is better anyway. 

I’m a Frugalist.  I love leverage, including leveraging financial resources for maximum impact.  I hate waste, especially wasting money (or watching clients do so).  I love teaching people how to achieve these things.  I love the huge leverage that’s possible in good estate planning, or in "asset protection" planning.  I really love helping people maximize the long-term positive impact of whatever amount of money they might leave behind for loved ones.  It’s more powerful than you think, but only if done right. 
Clients Are Friends.  Nearly all my clients tend to become friends, and I’m told I’m far easier to get to know and relate to than folks expect a lawyer to be.   
Constantly Seeking Deeper Expertise.  I always wanted to be a specialist, and I love the practice areas I've chosen.  A nerd, who loves to learn and improve.  I constantly strive to deepen my expertise in Estate Planning, and Kansas Probate Estates.  

Family Status: I’m happily married, no kids, but have three great nephews.   My extended family are all in the KC area.  I love spending time with all of them. 

Family History: I’m from third generation Kansas City Area families (on both sides).  I’m a third generation KC Lawyer.   My Granddad, Forest Hanna (“the original”) was a prominent lawyer/policitian.  My dad, Forest, “Jr.,” was a judge in Jackson County, Missouri, for 30 + years, both as a trial judge, and later on the Missouri Court of Appeals.  My Granddad on the other side of the family spent an entire career in public service, becoming Superintendent of the “Parks and Recreation Department” of Kansas City, Missouri.   They all taught me a lot about integrity, respect, diligence and hard work, and the value of a good reputation, built over decades.  
Teaching: I’ve served as a guest lecturer at UMKC Law School, training law students.   I’ve been a presenter at nationwide Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses, training other lawyers. 

Official Court Appointments: I’ve been appointed “Commissioner” in the Johnson County, Kansas Court's Probate Division, to help the judge decide certain matters.

Professional Memberships:

I’m a member of the “Kansas City Estate Planning Society,” which is an invitation-only group of prominent or respected estate planning attorneys, and professional trust officers, etc. 

I’m a member of the Johnson County, Kansas Bar Association.   And of its “Probate Law Section.”   I’m also part of an informal  "invitation only" study group, of prominent probate law practitioners in Kansas.  

I’m a member of the Johnson County Kansas Bar Association (and various committees thereof).   

Contact Me if I Can Help: If I seem like a “fit” for you, give me a call, let’s meet (free) to discuss your problem.  No Risk:  If I realize I’m not the best lawyer for your problem, I won’t take the matter.  It’s not in my best interest, nor yours.  But even there, I may be able to refer you on to that ideal lawyer.  I look forward to meeting.   Trey 

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