Last year, while attending the Minnesota Lawyer Unsung Legal Heroes awards ceremony, Robins Kaplan associate Elizabeth Burnett turned to her seatmate and they agreed, “Sandi should be up there.”
The reason legal administrative assistant Sandi Poppen came immediately to mind was that for many she epitomizes what it means to be an unsung hero. She brings polished work skills, an inquiring mind and a positive attitude to the job.
She works in products liability complex litigation cases and Poppen’s innate curiosity is one reason she is so valuable, says Jason Pfeiffer, chair of the business litigation group. “She’ll want to understand the products and technology at issue, for example, so that she can have context and better understand our cases,” he said.
“We don’t have a paralegal, so I am reviewing documents and deposition kits. I want to know what didn’t work in the switch [for example], what are the parts of the switch. I’m in the emails, I’m in the documents, I’m preparing the PowerPoints. When I started with Jason, I wanted to understand what he does,” Poppen says.
“Sandi is a really exceptional woman,” says Burnett. “In my mind there’s everyone else, and Sandi is just a cut above.”