The only thing Kathy Brickl doesn’t do for her firm is practice law.
Some of her favorite tasks include typing confidential information for the entire firm, planning office parties and events, and taking on the role of a receptionist.
The office manager has played a vital role for more than 30 years at Murphy Desmond, said Tim Valentyn, firm president. In addition to running the law firm’s day-to-day operations, Brickl takes time to act as a mentor to staff members.
“I love to see people do well,” she said. “To see people excel is exciting. They come in and don’t know how to do certain things and getting them to be that great employee is worth whatever time you have to put into it.”
Valentyn also credits Brickl with maintaining the firm’s high morale, citing her ability to coax employees out of their offices to mingle with their colleagues. Doing that requires having a sunny disposition and plenty of energy — all of which Brickl can lay claim to.
“I have the attitude that we can do anything here in Murphy Desmond and no job is too big or small,” she said.
Of course, there are always difficulties. Brickl, for instance, must keep up with the latest technology, all the while making time for each of her various duties.
It can be helpful to keep lists of which tasks have been completed and which still need doing. The real key for Brickl, though, is having a no-nonsense approach. In the end, it’s about hard work.
For her, that means getting into the office at 6 a.m. and not leaving until between 5 p.m. and 6:30.
“There’s no screwing around,” she said.
For Brickl, Murphy Desmond has become a second family of sorts. Outside the office, her actual family is at the center of nearly everything she does.
Brickl still lives in her hometown, Sauk City, with her husband. She grew up there and lives just a block away from her childhood home.
She spends much of her time with her 94-year-old mother. She also has two daughters and three grandchildren.
“They’re amazing,” she said. “They are my life.”