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2020 Unsung Legal Heroes: Administrative Support Specialist

Janet Larson

Legal Assistant

Brown & Ruprecht

Janet LarsonAir traffic controller. Super sleuth. Office (and real-life) Mom. Role model.

Legal assistant Janet Larson wears many hats at Brown & Ruprecht. The 30-year veteran assists five attorneys at the Kansas City firm.

Tell us about your day-to-day duties in this role. 

Working with our firm’s medical malpractice team, my role is akin to that of an air traffic controller (but much less dangerous or stressful). I help to organize who needs to be where and when, manage cases, file pleadings, contact witnesses and schedule like crazy. Additionally, I’m currently working for two construction attorneys, which adds a little variety to my day.

Tell us about your key accomplishment(s) in this role.

I have become sort of a Super Sleuth — showing resilience and determination in tracking down key details for a case or tracking down witnesses who don’t necessarily want to be found.

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

A criminology class in high school piqued my interests and led me to the legal field.

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

Always treat people with integrity and honesty — the way I would want to be treated —  and never burn bridges.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

That I’ve been in this career for so long.  I started in 1989, right out of business school, with what was then Niewald, Waldeck & Brown.

Don Yarber

Office Coordinator

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice

Don YarberJack of all trades. Utility infielder. Go-to guy.

Don Yarber’s official title is office coordinator. His actual duties? Pretty much whatever needs to get done.

“Don will do anything for anybody, any time,” a nominator said. “No matter the task, Don bends over backwards to get it done.”

Said another: “He does almost everything but practice law, and always with a kind word and a smile.”

“Don is such a positive force at our office. He never says it can’t be done,” yet another admirer offered. “I do not know how we would get along every day without him.”

Tell us about your day-to-day duties in this role.

This is what I absolutely love about this position. Every day can be different. From planning a large meeting to driving to a courthouse where I’ve never been, it’s never boring.

Tell us about your key accomplishment(s) in this role.

Developing relationships with all of our attorneys has always been a priority. I am also proud to say that I have never run out of supplies. That sounds simple but is much harder to accomplish.

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

I have a close friend who many years ago mentioned that her firm was looking for an office coordinator. The rest is history.

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

Get to work early, stay late and always smile. It’s worked for the past 16 years.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I love to cook, bake, grill and anything related to food. I’m a big Martha Stewart fan, too.

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