After 27 years as a legal secretary, Julie Gandee has learned the importance of keeping calm and carrying on.
“Maybe it’s my Norwegian roots,” said Gandee, a litigation secretary with Quarles & Brady’s product liability section. “Someone has to remain calm. And it’s better for my blood pressure.”
She said that approach took on a deeper meaning a few years ago when a co-worker died unexpectedly.
“When someone dies in their sleep like that — you see them one day and don’t see them the next — it puts a lot of things in perspective,” Gandee said.
That perspective has been reinforced through her work with the Marquette University Law School’s Hillview Clinic in Milwaukee, particularly when the pro bono service schedule she so carefully crafts falls apart. Gandee coordinates five attorneys and a handful of alternates for the clinic.
But she said any inconvenience is washed away knowing the clinic makes a difference for people.
“It’s a huge thing for the people who need help, people who simply can’t afford legal services,” Gandee said. “… It’s certainly something I enjoy doing, even the nights when I need four subs.”
That attitude also infuses Gandee’s work with new members of the firm.
“When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a teacher, so I like to be a mentor to the new employees,” she said. “I like to take the time to explain things, why we do them, and train them properly.”
And when new associates get an angry email, Gandee said, she encourages them to take a breath before responding.
“Just sit back, have a cup of coffee and then think of the best way to deal with it,” she said. “And always think of the other person. Put yourself in their shoes.”