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2011 Unsung Heroes – Paralegal

By: Justin Kern//November 18, 2011//

2011 Unsung Heroes – Paralegal

By: Justin Kern//November 18, 2011//

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2011 Paralegal of the year

Katie Carlson
Paralegal, Legal Action of Wisconsin Inc.

Is there a beyond that comes after “above and beyond”?

If so, Katie Carlson is working there, and offering one of her homemade pumpkin bars on the side.

A paralegal at the Legal Action of Wisconsin office in Racine, Carlson covers dozens of weekly housing cases, domestic violence work in Walworth County and, for one shift a week due to budgetary restraints, receptionist duties.

After-hours, Carlson often sets up her laptop and scanner at churches to help families with emergency rental assistance, or meets with down-on-their-luck clients to trudge through subsidized housing paperwork.

Once, amid arrangements of sudden guardian ad litem proceedings in Wisconsin for a client who was in Florida, Carlson also found the client temporary housing, donated food and a microwave, and use of a vehicle from an area dealership.

“Our job is to do the case, but there is all that other life stuff that goes with it,” said Francisca Murillo, a staff attorney at Legal Action. “Nobody else would do it besides Katie.”

Carlson’s regular duties never suffer for her additional efforts, she said.

“She’s got everything under control,” Murillo said.

And the icing on the cake? Carlson is a scratch sweets chef, regularly baking seasonal treats for everyone at the Racine office.

— Justin Kern

Kate Albrecht,
bond paralegal, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek SC

“Kate has worked with members of the public finance team for over 10 years. She was the first Wisconsin paralegal to develop and execute a plan for CD transcripts for bond transactions. We often tell clients that she is the ‘nerve center’ of our group and all deals flow through Kate. Not only is Kate extremely intelligent, a consummate perfectionist and able to produce clean, precise and accurate work products in both terms of quality and volume, but Kate is always warm, friendly and professional. Kate is an extraordinarily talented and hard working bond paralegal. Kate never misses a beat. ”

Lynda Templen
shareholder, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek SC

Bridget Amraen,
paralegal, Davis & Kuelthau SC

“Bridget is a paralegal in the our Green Bay office, where she works closely with all Green Bay labor attorneys, providing assistance in contract negotiations, drafting policies, hearing exhibits and contract proposals. She has over 16 years of experience as a paralegal. She prepares teacher, support staff and municipality costing as well as comparable wage and benefit data for clients. She develops and maintains significant settlement databases for use by school districts and municipalities. She is responsible for the preparation and presentation of exhibits for interest arbitration hearings. Bridget conducts research on various labor issues and prepares briefs for both grievance and interest arbitrations. She also provides assistance with short-term borrowing for multiple school districts.”

Mary Gerbig
attorney, Davis & Kuelthau SC

Kelly Bullis,
paralegal, Hager, Dewick & Zuengler SC

“Kelly has been with Hager, Dewick & Zuengler SC since its inception. She started her career with our firm as a recent graduate with a paralegal degree and in six short years, has developed into a paralegal/legal secretary unrivaled in her dedication and commitment to providing great client service and generating outstanding work product in a timely fashion. Willing to do whatever is asked of her, Kelly can be relied on to provide quality assistance not only to the attorneys of the firm, but also to the firm’s office manager and other staff on various office management/administrative tasks. … Her professional, friendly and upbeat attitude never waivers and she is always willing to lend a hand, thus creating a strong team atmosphere within the office. …

Without Kelly, the firm (including the individual attorneys) would not be where we are today.”

David Dewick
attorney, Hager, Dewick & Zuengler SC

Sandra Chapman,
paralegal, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek SC

“Sandy has gone above and beyond this past year and for many years. In particular, during 2011, Sandy was put in charge of a new software program, while still expected to meet her billable hour goal. She did a great job on both fronts. We are now in the process of implementing the new software, something we could not have done without her, and at the same time we have not lost a single step with the clients that have come to rely upon her unique knowledge in the area of condominium foreclosures. I just wanted her
to know how much I, and the rest of the condominium law team, appreciate her.”

Daniel Miske
shareholder, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek SC

Barbara Dosemagen,
legal assistant, Jockey International Inc.

“Barb is a highly qualified legal secretary with a keen eye for the look and presentation of a document. She will not let a document go out if it looks bad, is poorly formatted or has suspect grammar. Barb has also become a key player in supporting the international team routinely processing large documents and amendments with minimal oversight. … Barb works hard, expects excellence from herself and expects the same from the range of clients and legal department staff that she works with. For the past 12 years she has been my right hand as general counsel.”

Mark Jaeger
senior vice president and general counsel, Jockey International Inc.

Joleen Gudel,
paralegal, Van Wagner & Wood SC

“Joleen has been instrumental in the success of my practice. She does everything from pretrials in criminal cases, to legal research, to secretarial help, to being the person who talks with all of my clients. She’s so good with the clients, they get upset if they have to talk with me instead of getting her if she’s out of the office. She is always calm and upbeat, even when people are at their worst, given their current situation for which they’ve had to hire an attorney. My practice would not be what it is today without her.”

Tracey Wood
attorney, Van Wagner & Wood SC

Cindy Jorgensen,
paralegal for corporate services group, Quarles & Brady LLP

“Cindy has worked in the legal field for over 30 years and she joined Quarles & Brady in 1991. She is the consummate professional who is always ready to do what it takes to help the clients achieve their objectives. Whether it is working long hours, coming in the office on weekends or sacrificing personal time, when it comes to a project that requires extraordinary effort, Cindy always gives a fantastic effort to make sure the project is a success. For many years, Cindy has been an integral and essential part of our Corporate Services group and the firm in general. She is extremely talented and, simply put, a joy to be around and the type of model employee that anyone would enjoy having be part of their team. She is one of the
absolute treasures of our firm.”

Michael Grebe
supervising attorney, Quarles & Brady LLP

Laura Ordonez,
paralegal, Barry W. Szymanski SC

“Laura has been my paralegal and is now on her 19th year. We have gone through recessions and boons, ups and downs, and she continues to be a trusted paralegal. She is always smiling. And her work is impeccable. I am fortunate to work with her! And, she puts up with me and my shortcomings — and there are many in this high stress business of law.”

Barry W. Szymanski
attorney, Barry W. Szymanski SC

Beverly Plamann,
head paralegal and office manager, Sisson & Kachinsky Law Offices

“In a small legal office, the staff has to step to the plate and wear many hats and certainly be able to multitask. Beverly is a very unique individual. In her 50s, she came to us after spending 20 years in a manufacturing position doing hard labor. She went back to school, as an adult and became a paralegal. When our head paralegal/office manager left on short notice, I asked Beverly if she was up to the task. She has put in late (often uncompensated hours) learning her many job requirements that go well beyond mere paralegal duties. … She has proven to be our most valuable asset …”

Robert Sisson,
attorney, Law Office of Robert Sisson

Anita Seering,
senior paralegal, Ruder Ware LLSC

“Anita is a business law paralegal with over 30 years of paralegal experience. She focuses on transactional corporate law matters involving mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and private equity financing. Her responsibilities include coordinating due diligence and assisting at managing documentation for live and electronic closings, as well as handling post-closing matters. In addition, Anita works with business clients, ranging from single entrepreneur start-ups to large, well-established businesses, assisting with the initial
organization of all types of business entities, as well as ongoing legal compliance.”

Mary Ellen Schill
shareholder, Ruder Ware LLSC

Linda Sklenar,
paralegal, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek SC

“Linda Sklenar is an invaluable asset to our real estate, finance and business transactions team. She is most commonly known as our title and survey guru, capable of unwinding even the most vexing real estate issues with aplomb. She works seemingly at all hours, reads more professional journals than many attorneys and somehow managed to maintain her indefatigable charm and optimism. Her prior work experience is of particular benefit to our firm and clients. She was an assistant vice president/manager of a major title insurance underwriter. She also worked as a paralegal in the real estate law department of a major institutional lender … She also has management consultant experience working with loan departments of lending institutions. In short, she is hero deserving of song.”

Brian David Anderson
attorney, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek SC

Melanie Tourdot,
legal assistant/paralegal, Koritzinsky & Karls LLC

“We have a four person law office and Melanie has been our legal assistant for 19 years! Her dedication to her coworkers and employees is unmatched! She works at our office as if she were an owner, which is the ultimate compliment that I believe can and should be paid to an employee. She plans her vacations around her obligations at work, and has established an unbelievable rapport with our clients. They respect and trust her to an incredible degree, and we all rely on her knowledge, expertise, and dedication. To me, there is not a better employee than Melanie!”

Jay Koritzinsky
attorney, Koritzinsky & Karls LLC

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