September 2012 | Jennifer Thompson honored as Unsung Legal Hero by Minnesota Lawyer.

Jennifer ThompsonArmed with 14 years of experience, legal secretary Jennifer Thompson has proven invaluable to the attorneys she supports at Apple Valley-based Dougherty, Molenda, Solfest, Hills & Bauer P.A. - the largest Twin Cities law firm south of the Minnesota River.

Legal secretaries are often the heart of law firms, keeping the office running efficiently, which accurately describes Thompson's role. In fact, she's so knowledgeable in many substantive areas of law that she's often given tasks that could otherwise be handed to a paralegal. She has worked in many practice areas, including trusts and estates, municipal law, and corporate and real estate law.

Thompson was always interested in the legal system and considered becoming a lawyer; however, she discovered that being a legal secretary suits her personality. "This was a good way to get exposure to the legal field and learn about myself," she explains. "I found out that I like being more behind the scenes."

Although behind the scenes in some respects, Thompson is often front and center when it comes to client contact. She supports the firm's municipal law attorneys, who provide legal counsel to cities like Eagan and Apple Valley. She's the main point of contact for municipal clients in civil matters. She also currently does work in corporate and real estate.

Thompson finds client contact the most interesting part of her work. For example, when the firm represented 130 plaintiffs in a high-profile real estate matter, she was the plaintiffs' primary contact and on a first-name basis with many of them.

Thompson is also well-known around the office for organizing charity drives for causes like Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Toys for Tots and Second Harvest Heartland.

"As my husband says, I would give away the farm if I could," she smiles. "There are so many people who need help, and I love to rally the troops and see power in numbers." Last fall, the firm raised more than $600 for Second Harvest Heartland.

- Liz Wolf, Minnesota Lawyer