J. Michael Hennigan, a longtime attorney who served the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as a senior legal advisor for more than 20 years, died April 6 at his LA-area home surrounded by family.

Hennigan, who was 80, died of complications from cancer, which he had battled for more than seven years. 

Hennigan began working with the archdiocese in the early 2000s under Cardinal Roger Mahony. He was the archdiocese’s lead legal adviser during the resolution of the 2007 global settlement with victims of sexual abuse, and continued advising the archdiocese until his retirement from law firm McKool Smith earlier this year.

In a release announcing his retirement after more than five decades practicing law, McKool Smith described Hennigan as “one of the legal industry’s most decorated trial lawyers” with “elite trial abilities and persuasion skills” who handled more than 45 major jury trials.

Marge Graf, general counsel for the LA Archdiocese, worked closely with Hennigan for more than 20 years.

“Mike was an excellent and highly respected lawyer who was incredibly committed to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and to recognizing the suffering of victim-survivors of abuse,” Graf told Angelus.

“All of us who worked with him benefitted from his leadership, wisdom, candor, and his faith and friendship, especially in challenging moments. We will miss him.”