Working in Legal Aid organizations since 1995, legal secretary Diane Liebrenz serves clients with total dedication, even though she often doesn’t get credit for the difference she makes in the lives of others, believes Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid deputy director Ann Cofell.
“Her work and her impact on clients is hard to describe,” Cofell said. “In her years at Legal Aid, Diane has worked on cases for more than 10,000 clients, very few of whom have met her. But her work is a critical piece of success of each client’s case.”
Two of Liebrenz’s strongest attributes are compassion and professionalism, which Cofell said are combined expertly in order to solve problems and handle a heavy workload.
Those strengths come, in part, from her upbringing, Liebrenz noted. Her father was a police officer and emphasized the value of public service. As she got older, those lessons stayed with her, and she wanted a career where she could assist people.
“The nature of the work we do at Legal Aid is so important in the lives of the people that we help,” she said. “I can only hope that my work contributes to that effort.”
In addition to answering phones and screening clients, Liebrenz suggests solutions to problems that she identifies, Cofell added. She helps new staff with everything from finding forms to determining next steps in a case. Cofell said, “The list of all she does, always without complaint, goes on and on.”
Liebrenz is honored to be called an unsung hero, but with her characteristic modesty, she said she doesn’t feel like a standout, given the team-based nature of the profession. “I work with so many dedicated and caring attorneys, paralegals, and other support staff. It’s all of our efforts together that stand out in the work that we do.”