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April 30, 2014 | Firm Honors Phyllis Kleindl in Retirement

As she retires today, Phyllis Kleindl can look back on many years of growth and change in the legal industry that she served for so many years. Phyllis experienced (and implemented) many changes at DMSHB through the years, and only she can fully appreciate how much things have changed since she started her work as a legal secretary.

Letters that were once prepared on standard typewriters were later prepared on electronic typewriters. This method gave way to rudimentary word processors and then early computers. Today, letters and briefs are prepared on high-speed networked computers and saved to network servers. Letters and briefs that were once typed are now printed on high-output printers, in color if necessary. Printers were once a new and expensive technology. Today’s high-speed scanner/copiers make double-sided copies and are capable of adding staples and a three-hole punch right inside the machine. Although scanning was once only available through fax machines, today’s documents can be scanned at high speed and the PDF created from the scan can be e-mailed directly from the scanner (or saved directly to a network folder). Faxes that were once sent and received from a physical machine using a telephone line are now sent electronically over the Internet; they are received as e-mail attachments.

Today, attorney time is tracked electronically. Phyllis remembers a time when all attorney billing occurred on paper and was tabulated by hand. Today, employee time is tracked electronically through sophisticated payroll software and is consolidated into reports for approval before the firm’s bank wires money directly into an employee’s account through direct deposit. Phyllis can remember a time when all employee time cards were manually calculated and when paychecks were distributed directly to employees in paper form.

Attorneys are known for dictation as a method of efficiently preparing letters and other legal documents. When Phyllis began her work as a legal secretary, she took shorthand dictation from attorneys on a pad of paper. This method gave way to large dictation machines that generated dictation “tapes.” The physical tape was eventually replaced by devices that recorded on electronic memory in digital formats. Today’s digital recorders are nested in USB-connected docks, which allow digital voice recordings to be sent to legal secretaries by e-mail.

Today, attorneys use Internet-based legal research systems to conduct legal research and to review statutes and case law. The advent of Boolean search allowed attorneys to search millions of pages of cases, statutes and articles in fractions of a second. Phyllis Kleindl adapted to this new technology; but she also remembers a time when searches for case law involved only books, which occupied a significant amount of space in the firm’s law library.

As change has occurred over the past 30 years, the pace of work in law firms has increased, as has efficiency. Change is not always easy. But Phyllis Kleindl adapted to change with poise and patience. She helped attorneys adopt new technology. She helped new staff members (many of whom she had hired) understand systems and processes that she had master through years of hands-on experience.

The knowledge Phyllis passed on to staff members at DMSHB is invaluable to the firm’s continued success, and it will be seen in large and small ways for years to come.  Phyllis will be missed by so many at DMSHB who count her among their closest friends. DMSHB honors Phyllis for her loyal service to the firm and its attorneys through the years.

We wish you a wonderful, relaxing and travel-filled retirement. Thank you, Phyllis!