I blog about so many legal staffers here at Practical Paralegalism because I strongly feel they are the unsung heroes of the legal profession. I loved reading that last week almost 300 people attended Wisconsin Law Journal’s 2010 Unsung Heroes celebration in Milwaukee, honoring 50 people in 10 different categories, including Legal Secretary of the Year, Heidi Buttchen, and Paralegal of the Year, Carolyn Simpson. All of the honorees are the wonderful and indispensable people who provide crucial support to attorneys, including court clerks, IT specialists, law librarians, and firm administrators.

One of the best parts about the WLJ awards is that each and every legal staffer is featured at the website with a photo and an appreciative quote from their nominating attorneys. I encourage you to read all the terrific honoree profiles and enjoy this recognition of the key contributions legal staffers make to the practice of law every day.

Paralegal Category

Carolyn Simpson, a prosecution specialist/paralegal at Foley & Lardner LLP since 2003, is an expert in IP filings with the USPTO and “is trusted and valued by colleagues throughout the intellectual property department.” Paralegal honorees are Kimberly Finnigan, Rachelle Hocking, Theresa Lenz, Renee Nehring, Lisa Stewart-Boettcher, Chantelle Stocco, and Beth Zimmermann.

My favorite quote from the Paralegal Honorees’ section is from Stocco’s supervising attorneys, David DeBruin and Paul Benson:

Client service and zealous representation are attributes sought in attorneys. But when these attributes are found in a paralegal who combines them with superior administrative skills, a work ethic that does not quit until the job is done right and a pleasant attitude, it makes our job as attorneys easy. Chantelle Stocco chose to focus her work on complex litigation matters such as
patent litigation, professional liability and product liability litigation. This kind of commitment is not often found and when it is, it deserves recognition. She is the definition of reliability and dependability. It is this always willing to step up to the plate, can-do approach to her work that makes us proud to nominate Chantelle Stocco.

Legal Secretary Category

Heidi Buttchen, employed for 12 years at Cullen Weston Pines & Bach LLP, has a remarkable distinction: she has never taken a sick day. Her supervising attorney, Jordan Loeb, nominated her for the award and describes her as “work personified.” Legal secretary honorees are Jane Ames, Tami Burdick, Mary Burks, Brenda Champan, Lori Czarnecki, Emily Igl, Bernice Kukral, Mary McGivern, Deb Morgan, Sharon Nelson, Katie Roubik, Karen Schultz, Joanne Stone, Lindsay Van De Hei, Aileen Vargo, Jane Wiese, and Rosemary Haas (in memoriam).

My favorite quote from the Legal Secretary Honoree’s section is attorney Earl Munson’s description of Jane Ames:

…She corrects my errors, makes sure that briefs are in proper form, suggests changes in my letters, and is sought out by other lawyers and secretaries for help. I often receive comments from other lawyers in the office that “she is awesome.”

Congratulations to all of the honorees for this year’s Unsung Heroes, and many, many thanks to WLJ for singing their praises and highlighting their dedication, professionalism, and critical roles on the legal team.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.