There is no one person who holds it all together it’s a collaborative effort on all ends to make the firm run.
A conversation with Gina Oldenburg on the changing legal landscape as an allied legal professional.
This week we venture to the Bay Area where we got the chance to connect with allied legal professional, Gina Oldenburg. Gina is an essential part of the Fennemore team as the Office Manager to three of our locations and the C-Team liaison. She joined our team in 2022 during the Wendel Rosen combination in Oakland, California.
Gina’s experience working in the legal field runs deep as she interned with a State Senator during undergrad and ended up falling in love with the legal landscape. Gina is a California native and loves her West Coast roots and spending time at the beach when she can, both in Northern and Southern California.
Hi Gina! How are you doing today?
I’m doing well. It’s crazy busy at the Oakland office, but what’s new? There’s always something exciting happening with Fennemore.
What made you interested in joining the legal field as an allied legal professional?
I always enjoyed reading books like Nancy Drew and To Kill a Mockingbird as a kid, that’s what got me interested. I was a Government & Politics major in college, specializing in foreign policy in the Middle East. During my freshman year, I was chosen to be an intern for a Maryland State Senator and got to work at the state house in Annapolis. That really locked in my interest in law.
After college, I moved back to California and got a job as a case assistant at Brobeck in LA. I then moved to the Bay Area and after spending a year and a half as a junior paralegal. I learned that I liked the admin side of a law firm better. I was fortunate to work with multiple department managers, like an Office Administrator, HR manager, Accounting Manager, which enabled me to get a feel for how a law firm was run.
What is the biggest challenge you face working in the legal landscape?
Having worked with attorneys and legal staff since 1996, I have a good handle on how to interact and treat everyone, no matter what their position is in the firm. You treat everyone the same, everyone’s important. There is no one person who holds it all together it’s a collaborative effort on all ends to make the firm run.
The biggest challenge I now face is the new world of working with people who are remote. I make sure that they are included in the firm culture, events, etc. It is very important to me.
Is there anything you encounter in your work that you think would surprise other people?
Everyone has an idea about what a law firm really is because of shows like Suits, but a law firm is really a business. I recall having a conversation with a former manager in billings and collections. She was asked to attend an all associate meeting because they had questions about why it was so important for them to get their time in on time. What we discussed was how law school does not always teach the legal field as a business.
Also, the majority of the attorneys that I have worked with over the years have not only been intelligent and thoughtful but also very generous and humorous. The amount of community service that we do here really surprises people – and that it is a combination of both attorneys and staff who participate in these activities.
What is your favorite way to relax after a day at work?
I love to have a glass of wine while reading a good mystery novel…with my two cats cuddled next to me too.
Is there a show you can’t stop binging right now?
I am really old school – I will binge watch West Wing and Psych any day of the week. I love the references to shows from my childhood in Psych.
If you had to pick a different time in history to live in, which would it be and why?
I would want to live in California during the 1960’s. Between the music and the culture everything sounds like fun. My mom was born in 1950, so her teen years were the mid to late 60’s – going to see the Beatles, spending time at the beach surfing, working at Disneyland, etc. – she had a lot of fun and I want to experience that too.
If you had to pick one superpower what would it be and why?
Teleportation, so I don’t have to deal with TSA or commutes while I’m travelling and going into work.
Many thanks to Gina for her “insider’s view” of life at Fennemore.
For more information about partnering with our team in Oakland, please visit: