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Optimism, compassion make Casillas crucial to her team

By: Erika Strebel, [email protected]//November 30, 2017//

Optimism, compassion make Casillas crucial to her team

By: Erika Strebel, [email protected]//November 30, 2017//

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Rachel Casillas - Godfrey & Kahn (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)
Rachel Casillas – Godfrey & Kahn (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Rachel Casillas loves the outdoors. Her list of favorites recreations includes camping, bicycling and hiking.

Her love for the outdoors, combined with both her parents coming from farming families, could have easily set her on the path toward becoming a farmer.

But life nudged her in a different direction. When she was a baby, her toddler brother accidentally burned down the family farm in Germantown. He went on be a fireman.

Casillas, for her part, decided to stay far away from fire, going on to work as a legal executive assistant at Godfrey & Kahn.

For 37 years, Casillas has worked for the firm’s real-estate team, helping it stay on task, communicating with clients and making sure attorneys stay on top of their continuing legal-education requirements.

One source of gratification is that her work often lets her provide help directly to clients, who can then avoid having to go through an attorney. Casillas also likes repairing clients’ electronic documents after they have been found to be corrupt or to be acting oddly.

“I clean them up, make them beautiful and put them in our automatic numbering system,” Casillas said. “I enjoy that kind of work. It can be tedious, but I like the end product.”

Her strengths include patience and compassion – in dealing not just with lawyers and colleagues but also clients.

Five years into the job, Casillas spoke with a client over the phone who was angry because he had to catch a plane and had not yet seen documents he was expected to sign. She said the client was unusually rude.

That afternoon, though, he sent her flowers with an apology.

“It helped me remember that everyone has a bad day and one must take things in stride,” Casillas said.

“Of course, the flowers didn’t hurt either.”

One of Casillas’ most striking traits is her good attitude toward her job, says associate attorney Marvin Bynum.

“She has a smile on face every day, is always willing to pitch in,” he said. “Even on the worst days, she makes things a lot lighter around here.”

Bynum noted that the year has been a busy one and that the team has been understaffed. At one point, the team leader was out and Casillas was charged with coordinating things to ensure that people were carrying out their responsibilities.

“Through the entire process, she just had the best attitude about it even though it was a lot of extra stress,” said Bynum.

But Casillas says the team makes it easy for her.

“I’ve just really been blessed with great people,” she said. “It’s just an awesome group of people who care about each other.”

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