Mariel Piilola came to Larkin Hoffman nearly 23 years ago as a family law attorney. She loved the firm and her colleagues. A few years later, when the firm needed a director of human resources, she decided to take her legal skills in a new direction. Since then, Piilola has become “involved in multiple levels of the firm.” In addition to managing human resources and recruiting, Piilola oversees the library and records, and supervises 40 administrative staff.
The firm had had a tradition of hiring two to four law students for its “small, intimate” summer program, but had let the program lapse. With Piilola’s help, the Legal Personnel Committee reinstated the program shortly before the recession hit. Over the next few years, as summer associate programs elsewhere were trimmed or eliminated, Larkin Hoffman maintained its program, and later hired associates from the program.
“A good deal of work in law firm management is just plain tough, and Mariel gets her fair share of it,” wrote Bill Griffith, Tamara O’Neill Moreland, and Dick Knutson in nominating Piilola. “When the firm moved into new offices in 2014, for the first time in 40 years, Mariel took on the staggering task of coordinating the identification and disposal of obsolete files, records and other paperwork — all 15 tons of it!”
But Piilola’s favorite work — and her greatest strength, according to her nominators — is “letting others shine, develop and grow.” Piilola sees exciting days ahead for Larkin Hoffman, and believes her nomination may speak to the firm’s commitment to professional development. “We’re really focused on allowing attorneys to take their strengths and interests and fly with them,” she says. “We’ve always been known as an entrepreneurial firm. I think that’s still the case.”