Unsung: Lisa Becker
Posted: 6:03 pm Fri, September 14, 2012
By Tony Anderson
Case Manager, Fish & Richardson
Lisa Becker has played backup for Ray Charles as part of a 32-piece big band orchestra in Chicago. She also unravels the intricate patent information knots for a major computer technology company in her role as case manager for Fish & Richardson in Minneapolis.
The skills that serve her so well in her legal vocation were developed as part of her avocation in music. Becker credits her musical background with helping to hone her amazing memory and attention to detail. She started out playing piano and had to play four recitals each year with everything memorized.
“That is what helped me develop my photographic memory,” Becker said. “In order to do this job, which is just pedantic and detail-oriented, I think the music helped me develop the skills for what has been successful for me in my career.”
Becker, who has two degrees in flute performance, found that she wanted to perform music for the joy of it, not as a job. A fellow performer suggested she apply at a temp agency, which opened the door for her to work as a legal assistant for a patent law firm in Chicago.
Nearly a decade ago, she moved to the Twin Cities to help prepare the information disclosure statements that go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Her amazing memory, attention to detail, and drive helped her excel at the job. She even developed procedures for preparing information disclosure statements used by other staff at the firm. In addition, she developed training manuals and started conducting training for staff at the firm’s 11 offices in person, via teleconference, or through WebEx.
“I became the central location for information and developing things,” Becker said.
Two years ago, her skills led to her becoming the case manager for one of the firm’s major computer technology clients. Next to the managing principal, Becker is the face of Fish for that client. Communication with the client often goes through Becker. She handles quarterly reports and projects, invoicing for Fish, and works with a team of 55 secretaries, paralegals, or attorneys trying to meet the client’s needs.
“Lisa is constantly looking for — and implementing — improvements to processes and procedures,” says Debra Walker, the paralegal manager at Fish & Richardson. “For Lisa, assessing situations and doing everything possible to come up with a great solution is just all in a day’s work.”
Despite the hard work, she still finds time to travel back to Chicago and perform with the big band orchestra. Throughout the years, she has had the opportunity to play backup to many artists, but the times that she was able to perform with Ray Charles still stands out as a highlight.