Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi
Not many 16-year-olds make a firm decision about their life’s work and then pursue it, but Lisa Birchen was an exception.
“I’m probably one of the few people who chose my profession as a teenager,” she said. At the time, she’d started working at a small law firm in Hastings, doing typing and filing after school and during the summers. Based on the experience, she decided to become a paralegal, and has never regretted that early decision. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in paralegal studies from Winona State University, started as an intern at the Robins firm, and is still there 33 years later.
“I like getting to know clients and their families and gathering information to tell the story of who they are, what happened to them, and how their lives were changed as a result,” said Birchen.
She works in the medical negligence and personal injury department, where clients have either sustained life-altering injuries or lost a loved one. Birchen appreciates being part of the firm’s work to achieve justice and financial compensation for them. “It’s satisfying to see the results of our work really make a difference in someone’s life, to make things a little easier for them,” she noted.
One of the firm’s partners, Chris Messerly, added that Birchen’s strengths range from treating clients with compassion to assisting attorneys with rock-solid dependability.
“I can ask her to perform a task and I can have the luxury of completely forgetting about the matter,” Messerly said. “Also, our clients open their hearts to her. It’s hard for me to imagine working without her at my side. The title ‘unsung hero’ is perfect for her because she never seeks credit. She quietly works her wonders every day here, and she should be a well-known hero.”