In December, Office Manager Denielle Beaulaurier will celebrate 25 years of employment with Abeyta Nelson. Since 1990, she has worked in nearly every staff position and continues to keep the law firm running smoothly. Here is more about Denielle:
1) Where did you grow up and where did you received your education? I was born and raised in Yakima, WA. I attended Eisenhower High School and the University of Portland.
2) Did you receive any additional legal training prior to being hired at Abeyta Nelson? No. Prior to joining the law firm, my background was solely in the medical field.
3) What year did you join Abeyta Nelson? Can you describe the firm then? I joined the firm in December of 1990. We still had typewriters and full time transcriptionists. If memory serves me correctly we had three lawyers, an office manager, and a support staff of seven or eight. Initially, I dictated my summaries that were then transcribed by a transcriptionist. Scanning, advanced software, color copiers – none of those were available to us then.
4) In what role were you first hired, and how did you become office manager? I came on board initially as the firm’s medical coordinator. This position involved summarizing all of our client’s medical records, helping create a Medical Terms/Definitions reference manual, and coordinating and scheduling medical examinations for our clients. I also worked with the managing partner, Terry Abeyta, in developing a resource of anatomical illustrations for later use in the process of working our client’s case. In 1991, I began assisting in the area of screening new claim calls. I moved from the position of medical coordinator to full-time Intake Coordinator (screening new claim calls) in 1995. In 1996, I began handling some actual client cases, both in the claims stage and litigation cases, to better understand all aspects of personal injury law with the intention of aspiring to the position of office manager. I continued to work in the positions of Intake Coordinator, Legal Assistant, and train for the position of Office Manager from January through December of 1999. I moved to the position of full-time Office Manager in December 1999.
5) In what ways has the firm evolved and changed over the years? When I first started with the firm, so much of what we did on a client’s case was done manually with pen and paper. In 1997, we instituted case management software that changed the way we managed our cases forever – and for the best. Over the years we’ve moved from dictating and transcribing letters and documents, to creating documents that are integrated into our case management system. This change brought about greater efficiency for everyone and meant we no longer needed to employ a transcriptionist. Over the years we also outsourced the job of collecting medical records to allow our staff to be more efficient.
6) Managing a law firm is a demanding job. Does multi-tasking come naturally to you, or were these skills honed over the life of your career? My job as office manager has been a constant learning and evolving challenge over the years. Multi-tasking is something I continue to work on every day to do the best job I can. There is always room for improvement! I credit my past mentors, my parents, and the “aging of time” with the ability to maintain a calm demeanor while managing our three offices.
7) What have been your greatest career challenges? Initially, gaining the trust of our staff as the new office manager. Over the years there has been the constant challenge of maintaining forward momentum of the firm with regard to technology and marketing tactics. This has to be coupled with maintaining a positive, enthusiastic, and pleasant work environment.
8) What have been your proudest moments at Abeyta Nelson? I’m very proud of being an integral part of opening our Ellensburg branch office in 2003 and our Sunnyside branch office in 2006. Most importantly, I’m proud to work with the best attorneys and staff in Central Washington. I’m very proud to say I’m a part of the “Abeyta Nelson team.”
9) If a young person were just starting out as office manager of a law firm, what would you tell him or her is the key to successfully running a law firm? Never stop communicating with your attorneys and staff, always listen to your staff, and remember – always smile! Tomorrow’s a new day.