Our own David Van Gilder was featured in the Fort Wayne Business Weekly. See below.


How would you describe your law firm?

We are five lawyers and six support staff dedicated to providing effective, cost-efficient and compassionate legal services. We have a general legal practice, but excel in handling injury and Social Security disability claims.

Our work also involves the basic legal needs that most people will have in their life: we advise people on wills and other estate planning documents, we help people start and maintain small businesses, we advise people on family law matters, and we assist persons who have been injured at work or by car accident.

How did you become interested in law and the specialties for which you are known, then eventually co-found and grow Van Gilder & Trzynka while developing legal expertise in the protection of natural and cultural areas?


Advocacy becomes career for Fort Wayne attorney


I was interested in land use and environmental issues all throughout my undergraduate studies and planned to create a law practice to use that expertise. I have also long been an advocate for those persons who have the least power in our community.

After serving with the Peace Corps Volunteers in Botswana, I was fortunate to find Fort Wayne, a welcoming city for this kind of law firm. Our general family practice allows us to make a living and to pursue our legal passions.

All of the lawyers in the firm share a commitment to help people, especially those who are hurting and require representation against powerful insurance companies and other entities.

We view the community as a whole: justice for the people and the natural environment is essential for a progressive and protective community.


How have you been able to contribute to the community through the professional skills you have honed and what brought you to the Fort Wayne-New Haven area?

All of the attorneys in the firm contribute to the community through service on nonprofit boards, in addition to their legal work.

I have long been a director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, ACRES Land Trust, ARCH and the Friends of Cedar Creek, in addition to service on the boards of the Allen County Bar Association and the Allen County Bar Foundation.

Ann Trzynka is a director of Lutheran Social Services, and she is City Attorney for New Haven. Dustin Roach serves the Allen County Bar Foundation. Andrew Simmons and Lindsay Davenport also volunteer on service boards.

What is ahead for Van Gilder & Trzynka?

Van Gilder & Trzynka will continue to expand its work helping people with Social Security disability claims and advocating for individuals who are injured by others and in the workplace.

We will also grow our representation of individuals estate planning and family law matters. I hope to continue my advocacy on behalf of individuals and interest groups in land use and environmental disputes.

What do you like about the work?

I enjoy using my experience over the past 25 years to advocate for my clients. Each client is unique, and the challenge of the work – applying new research skills together with long experience – is what I like best.

What moments in your career development stand out the most so far?

One of the most rewarding things we do at Van Gilder & Trzynka is our volunteer lawyer work. When we help a client through a family law dispute and she sends us a heartfelt thank-you note our sense of accomplishment is multiplied.

We made a decision early on that our lawyers would use their talents to earn a living, but always balanced with volunteer legal work for the benefit of the community.

What advice have you found the most valuable while developing your career and the business of Van Gilder & Trzynka?

I have worked with an accomplished group of lawyers since the firm was established in 1996.




Three have become judges, and I think the firm’s success is because of our culture of service and integrity.

Of course, many lawyers are strong advocates, but our combination of hard work, dedication to clients, and the highest ethics has made Van Gilder & Trzynka a successful small law firm.

By Doug LeDuc. To suggest a “Career Path,” call (260)426-2640 or email dleduc@kpcmedia.com.

Name: David Van Gilder
Age: 57
Title: Cofounder
Company: Van Gilder & Trzynka PC Founded: 1996

Location: 436 E. Wayne St. (The former Goodrich Tire Service Center, originally built in 1929, then renovated and repurposed as law offices.)

Employs: Five lawyers and six support staff

Education: Earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio; earned a law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C.

Other: 2015 Allen County Bar Association’s Niemann Citation for Excellence and Professionalism; 2013 Indiana Bar Foundation’s Randall T. Shepard Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Publico