Protecting The Rights of Those who Fight for Our Country

Lauren Hanzel

Attorney/Founding Partner

Lauren Hanzel co-founded The Hanzel Law Firm after spending over 10 years on active duty as a JAG officer in the U.S. Navy. She is a 2004 graduate of Stanford University, near San Francisco, CA, where she majored in American Studies and minored in Political Science and Psychology. A key contributor to Stanford’s NCAA National Championship Water Polo Team in 2004, as well as two NCAA runners ups and several youth national water polo teams, Lauren Hanzel began attending Tulane Law School, in New Orleans, LA, in 2004.

At Tulane, Lauren served as editor-in-chief of the Tulane Sports Law Journal and completed prestigious summer clerkships with IMG in Cleveland, OH, one of the country’s leading sports agency firms, and with Justice Jeannette Knoll, the first female elected judge in Louisiana and one of the most influential justices ever to sit on the Louisiana Supreme Court. Despite Hurricane Katrina shutting down the entire city of New Orleans, including Tulane Law School, in 2005, Lauren still graduated on time, earning her Juris Doctorate degree in 2007.

After commissioning in the U.S. Navy and graduating from the Basic Legal Course at Naval Justice School in Newport, RI, in March 2008, Lauren Hanzel's first command was Region Legal Service Office Southeast, Branch Office Charleston, SC, where she met her husband, Mike. Placed in charge of the office handling all legal assistance for Navy Sailors, Coast Guard, veterans, and dependents in the greater Charleston area, she expertly drafted hundreds of wills, helped with consumer problems, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) issues, child custody, divorce and ran the Navy’s Charleston tax center. A resident of Sullivan’s Island and downtown Charleston, she came to know and love the Charleston area.

In 2009, she volunteered to serve with the Army in Iraq, and spent 7 months deployed with Joint Task Force 134 at various sites in Iraq. There, she was the sole JAG onsite and responsible for closing down TF-134 legal operations at the TIF in Bucca before moving to Camp Cropper to work for TF-134’s Detainee Legal operations Center. After serving in Iraq, Lauren Hanzel returned to Charleston as a legal assistance and defense attorney with Naval Legal Service Office (NLSO) SE.

In July of 2010, Lauren Hanzel reported to Naval District Washington (NDW) in Washington DC, where she initially served as the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for NDW. When her command established a command services department to advise six regional installations and 120 tenant commands, she became the department head.

Lauren Hanzel reported as the Command Judge Advocate to Naval Submarine Support Center (NSSC), Bangor, Washington in January 2012, and advised NSSC as well as three local squadrons and thirteen submarines. An expert in military administrative law and command services, she prosecuted Sailors at administrative separation boards, handled ethics questions and military justice questions for senior officers and senior enlisted leaders, and briefed the Admiral about legal matters, as well. She was so successful in the Northwest that she was recognized with the Outstanding Navy Legal Professional Award presented by the Kitsap County Bar Association.

In July 2014, she transferred to Naval Justice School detachment Norfolk and became the Officer in Charge in January, 2015. In that job, she taught many of the Navy and Marine Corps’s senior officers, senior enlisted and legal officers about military justice. She handled outreach, volunteering to teach a Naval Justice School course at Naval Station Naples, Italy, and taught many of the people currently prosecuting Navy and Marine Corps administrative separation boards how to do so.

She and her husband, Mike Hanzel, founded the Hanzel Law Firm in Charleston, SC, in 2017. Their goal was to serve servicemembers worldwide with the kind of independence that they cannot get from military lawyers who are still on active duty, while also serving the legal needs of their local community in the greater Charleston, SC, area.

Lauren Hanzel is a member of the United States Supreme Court, Maryland, and South Carolina Bars.

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