At this point in her life, Ellen Hanson-ZeVan was getting ready for retirement, positioning herself to join numerous friends who’d already made the transition. But right at the crossroads, at the 50-year mark in her career, she decided to forge a different path instead.
While working as a floater at Bowman and Brooke, she was approached by a senior partner whose administrative secretary had just resigned. He wanted her help in finding a replacement, but ideally, he asked if she’d be willing to step into the role.
“I’d never even thought of a direction like that,” she said. “But once the possibility got me thinking, I realized I was looking for reasons not to take it. So, I put off retirement and took on this challenge instead. And I’ve been thrilled.”
A core value of the firm is to exceed expectations, and no one has truly embodied this more than Hanson-ZeVan, noted managing partner Bard Borkon. “With incredibly diverse responsibilities, her days are far from routine,” he said. “Yet, she always balances multiple projects with ease, flexibility, and a positive attitude.”
With so much experience, she believes that the challenges in her new role will feel zesty rather than overwhelming. “With this much background, you’ve done it all,” she said with a laugh. “Nothing will be surprising, and I can use that as an advantage.”
Borkon added that Hanson-ZeVan has always shown an unwavering commitment to her work, and her enthusiasm for taking on a whole new challenge at that stage just highlights her dedication. He said, “She epitomizes the qualities of an amazing and dedicated legal secretary, but in deciding to put off her retirement after 50 years in the industry to take on a permanent assignment, she also exemplifies what it means to be an unsung legal hero.”