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Firm Administrator

  • Angie Berry
  • Donna Howard
  • Linda M. Morris
  • Christine Sappenfield
  • Deborah A. Trachsel
berry-angie

  

 

Langdon & Emison

“I’m not sure. Let’s ask Angie” is a common refrain around Langdon & Emison’s office. Angie Berry has been an integral part of the firm since she was hired in 1991 while she was a student at the University of Central Missouri. Since then, she has served as a secretary, paralegal, administrator, bookkeeper and more. “She brings an encyclopedia of knowledge not only from a business perspective and management of the firm’s resources and cash flow, but also regarding current and closed cases, expert witnesses, court procedures and trial experience,” wrote nominator Bob Langdon.

What led you to choose a career in the legal field?

I was in my high school business class when I chose my career path as a legal secretary. The legal field had always intrigued me, I liked my business, typing and shorthand classes and helping others was a passion of mine.  I knew I would be able to use all my interests and skills by being in the legal field.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I have been on four mission trips.

What is the best part of your job?

I’m proud to be a part of our team because we’re passionate about helping clients, and I enjoy the day-to-day interaction with all the staff members.  I’m also proud of our firm’s pro bono and community service program, which every year helps numerous individuals and families across the state.

What is your favorite thing to do away from work?

I like to spend time with my family and friends, traveling, reading, and riding bike trails.

Anything else you want people to know?

Our office has a group of gals that exercise together on our lunch hour. We try to go on a law firm girls’ trip once a year to a half-marathon destination race.  We have traveled together to races in Kansas, San Francisco and Las Vegas so far.

howard-donna

Human Resources Manager

Brown & James

With more than 35 years at Brown & James, Donna Howard is often considered the “glue of the firm.” After 15 years as human resources manager and a prior career as a legal assistant, she is known for her ability to make both high-level decisions and complete routine tasks. “She takes a personal and abiding interest in each employee and strives to make the firm the best possible employer,” wrote nominator Michael Ward, a principal at the firm. “Her loyalty and devotion to the firm are Homeric. Her service ubiquitous. She participates as an ex officio member of the firm’s Executive Committee and is involved in every aspect of the firm.”

What led you to choose a career in the legal field?

It was not my intention to work in the legal field, however, I began my career in 1976 by answering an ad for a receptionist. The rest is history.

What is the best part of your job?

Watching newly hired support staff and lawyers become successful within our law firm.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

“It is better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”

What is your favorite thing to do away from work?

Socializing with my friends, talking about the “good old days,” and enjoying a nice glass of wine.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I am truly kindhearted and care deeply for the underdog – to a fault.

Anything else you want people to know?

Times they are “a changing” – but there is nothing like the “good old days!”

morris-lindaOffice Manager

Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney

Linda Morris started at the Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney’s office in 1991, before following attorney John Beger, today a judge, into private practice. She returned to the office after Beger’s election as prosecutor in 2011, where her efficiency and attitude are credited with stopping a trend of high turnover. The office has lost only a handful of employees since her return, compared to 40 staff members in the previous four years. “Linda has been a constant, positive influence on the office and when she agreed to remain after my election in 2014 I was beyond relieved,” wrote Prosecuting Attorney Brendon Fox. “The attorneys in my office, and throughout the community, regularly joke that cloning needs to hurry up because everyone ‘needs a Linda.’”

What led you to choose a career in the legal field?

I was seeking new challenges and the legal field seemed to offer a variety of areas in which to specialize and hone my skills.

What is the best part of your job?

Helping to keep the public safe from criminals. I am so fortunate to work with committed prosecutors, coworkers, law enforcement officers and court personnel all with the common goal of seeking justice. It is a profession of which I am very proud.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Treat everyone with respect and if you make a mistake, admit it quickly, enlist help to correct it if necessary, learn from the experience, and then put it behind you.

What is your favorite thing to do away from work?

Spoiling my grandchildren.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

Many years ago I was a bartender and waitress on weekends and still shoot a mean game of billiards.

Anything else you want people to know?

I’m honored to be nominated for this award. It’s a privilege to serve the public and our justice system; one I never take for granted.

sappenfield-christineChief Operating Officer

Levy Craig Law Firm

Christine Sappenfield has worn a lot of hats in the 23 years she has worked at Levy Craig in Kansas City. Officially, her duties include supervising the firm’s support staff, strategic planning, building management and assisting with marketing. She has also been credited with controlling the firm’s expenses and increasing profits. Unofficially, she’s also described as confidant, taskmaster, coach and more. Prior to her position at Levy Craig, she worked in a dentist office and worked as office manager at the accounting firm of Mayer Hoffman McCann.

“She is nimble on her feet, she ducks and weaves as need be, and emerges at the end of every day, still the leader that her coworkers look to for guidance,” wrote nominator David Kenner, an attorney at Levy Craig.

What led you to choose a career in the legal field?

I had been working at a CPA firm and my position was very similar, working with professionals. It was fun going back to a smaller firm, as Mayer Hoffman McCann used to be.

What is the best part of your job?

The variety. No two days are ever the same so your job and responsibilities change constantly.

What is your favorite thing to do away from work?

Spend time with my children and family, go to the lake, read, take cruises, watch mindless television and love on my yorkies.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I was born on Christmas. Luckily my mother didn’t name me “Merry” as she was going to.

I’m more empathetic than I seem. I care a lot about employee long-term growth but I’m very direct and quick, so sometimes that comes across as uncaring.

trachsel-deborahExecutive Director

Capes Sokol

At Capes Sokol, Deborah Trachsel is known as both a general for her quiet, exacting precision and as a den mother for her caring attitude. In 12 years, she has steered the firm as it quadrupled in staff and revenue, and has played an integral role in its success. “She has gained the respect and admiration of all of the lawyers and support personnel in our firm for many reasons; the principal ones being her overall competence, drive, loyalty and great judgment,” wrote nominator Mark Goodman, shareholder at Capes Sokol. “I would trust Debbie with any task or decision because of my long experience with her and seeing her perform, constantly, under fire.”

What led you to choose a career in the legal field?

I spent several weeks of my high school summers working in my uncle’s law firm in Perryville, Missouri. I became interested in the business side of the practice of law. I have always worked in law firms, although what I have learned is applicable to most professional service firms.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

My parents always told me to do more than what is expected because people will notice. They also taught me to take responsibility for everything I do or say. The last piece of advice is perfectly illustrated in a new book I am reading called “Extreme Ownership” by Willink and Babin. I highly recommend it for anyone in a leadership or management role in the business world.

What is your favorite thing to do away from work?

Boating at the Lake of the Ozarks and spending time with my significant other, family, friends, and two chihuahuas and one rescue cat.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I am fiercely competitive – I play to win.

Anything else you want people to know?

I am incredibly grateful and appreciative to have served numerous law firms with brilliant attorneys over the years, especially at Thompson Coburn and the opportunities that were presented to manage its trial site offices in numerous states that ultimately provided the springboard to my current position at Capes Sokol.

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