Rita Heyerholm’s closet must be full of hats, considering how many she wears as a legal assistant at Boardman & Clark in Madison.
For starters, she handles what Andrew Hebl, one of the two lawyers she works directly with, calls a “very significant volume of correspondence.” She ensures that things such as letters, pleadings, briefs, motions and more get to where they’re needed in a timely manner.
But beyond that, she also helps organize a multitude of events, including private events held for as many as 250 guests during the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Concerts on the Square series.
The concerts take place on the Capitol’s lawn before an audience that looks on from nearby streets. Boardman & Clark holds private events on a few of those nights. The firm’s location near the Capitol makes it an ideal location for the gatherings.
In planning the events, Heyerholm has to maintain guest lists, select menus, work with the caterers, arrange for rentals, put together seating charts and keep a backup plan in case everyone has to be moved inside because of inclement weather.
Beyond that, she also serves as a campaign manager for United Way. In that role, she helps organize the group’s Day of Caring. During this event, United Way volunteers perform community service; Heyerholm said this typically involves manual labor. Volunteers, for instance, painted for a local senior-citizen center this August. Other years have seen them helping to pull weeds and mulch.
Outside the office, Heyerholm coaches children’s groups, teaches Sunday School classes, sings in her church’s choir and serves as the president of the local condominium association.
Even when her roles are demanding the most from her, Heyerholm maintains her professional bearing, Hebl noted.
Hebl said it’s a quality that cannot be overvalued in employees. That’s especially true for anyone who works with planning events. Heyerholm, he noted, is often the public’s first point of contact with the firm.
“To me, professionalism, it’s probably one of my primary responsibilities I have to the firm,” she said. “(In) my role as event coordinator, I am the front face of Boardman.”
Anyone charged with organizing events and handling correspondence must be able to set priorities. Heyerholm said communicating clearly with the people she works with is also essential. She credits both Hebl and Gary Antoniewicz, the other lawyer she works with at Boardman, for their patience.