Becky Kinney Michel Tortorello
This Syracuse/Auburn NY injury lawyer is proud of his staff! Before I tell you why, let me give you a little background.
First, working in a New York personal injury firm, whether in the Syracuse area or elsewhere, is stressful. Litigation can be intense. The pressure to get papers out on time, and in perfect order, is sometimes overwhelming. When an attorney is about to go to trial, reams of binders, exhibits, and copies must be produced. And you know who gets stuck with all that hard work? The lawyers? Hell no! Staff. And who has to deal with a stressed-out-on-edge lawyer? Staff.
Another hard thing about working for personal injury lawyers is the emotional aspect of the job. Many of our clients are very seriously injured, or have suffered the death of a loved one. We represent them for many months and often for years. Our staff works more closely with our clients than we do; getting medical updates from them, asking them for documents, informing them of upcoming depositions or defense medical exams. It is only natural that staff ends up forming special bonds with some of them. And their stories are often so sad! For example, one of our clients witnessed her 8-year old son get run over and killed in a mall parking lot. There is an emotional toll to working closely with people who have so much suffering in their lives.
Now let me get back to why I am proud of our staff. Way back in the mid-90’s, we hired two wonderful ladies, Becky Kinney and Michel Tortorello, as secretaries/receptionists. But over the years, we could not help but notice that they were smart, thorough and dedicated. So when our legal assistant Mary Jones retired several months ago, we didn’t need to look far to find her replacement: We promoted Becky and Michel to co-legal assistants and hired a new receptionist/secretary, Heather Langton, to work for them.
The rest is history, as they say. Becky and Michel rose to the task, and beyond. To make sure I wasn’t the only one of our lawyers who was extremely pleased with the way things are going, I took a poll of my partners Jan Smolak, Dave Kalabanka and Lee Michaels. When asked about the change, Jan explained, “we briefly considered conducting a search for a new paralegal, but you, Mike, made us see that the most outstanding legal assistants were hiding in plain sight, right under our noses”. When I asked Dave, his comment was, “we decided to move Becky and Michel up on a trial basis, but honestly the results are so good there is no turning back now. Not only have they risen to the job of drafting complex legal documents, reviewing and summarizing medical records, and preparing settlement evaluations, they have an amazing rapport with clients and with insurance adjusters”. Senior partner Lee Michaels commented, “what I love about their work is they are proactive. They don’t wait to be told what to do, they just do it. They review our files monthly and tell us what needs to be done. This makes the cases move toward a resolution more quickly”.
Yes, we are very pleased with our decision to promote Becky and Michel. But we are also pleased with our new hire, Heather, as receptionist/secretary. She’s doing an amazing job. She’s an efficient typist, a quick learner, and treats our clients with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Yes, we are very proud of our whole team! Clients love them! Next time you run into Becky or Michel, congratulate them on their promotion, and welcome Heather to the Michaels & Smolak team!