After nearly 50 years of service to the legal community, Union resident Sandy Yenzer’s days of filing are over.
Yenzer, a legal secretary, office manager and probate assistant, has filed her final legal paperwork for clients at Baylard, Billington, Dempsey & Jensen, P.C.
A party was held in her honor Friday, July 14, at the firm.
Yenzer predates the attorneys in the office, which was established in 1969. Over the years, she was responsible for book work, probate work and managing the office.
Her primary focus was working through wills to help people understand how assets transfer when a loved one passes away.
“I enjoyed helping (probate clients). It’s an emotional time when you lose a child, parent or spouse, and most of them were appreciative of someone helping them get through those ordeals,” she said.
A Union native, Yenzer graduated from Union High School. She married the late Wayne Yenzer.
After a two-year stint at the Division of Family Services, where she served as an aide to the child welfare worker, she got pregnant with her oldest son, Gary, and stayed home with him for a year.
She worked for two years in the recorder’s office at the courthouse before having her second son, Todd.
When Todd was a baby, Yenzer would fill in as needed for a local attorney, Lee Young, when his secretary was off.
“The legal field has always interested me,” she said, but being an attorney never appealed to her.
Tom Briegel soon began working for Young. When he was ready to start his own practice in 1969 — Thomas J. Briegel, attorney at law — he asked Yenzer to come work for him.
Yenzer started out as a secretary.
“Back then, you were self-taught,” Yenzer said. “Tom would go to court and I’d see something that needed doing. If I didn’t know how to do it, I got out the law book and figured it out.”
She was named the state legal secretary of the year in 1986.
In 1982, Tom Briegel passed away after a battle with cancer. Yenzer said Tom was “the big brother I never had.”
When he died, Yenzer was the trustee of the law firm.
“I sold it, and I sold myself right along with it,” she said laughing at the memory.
The firm was sold to Dave Baylard, who is still with the firm, and Dick Dempsey. The Dempsey who is a principal with the business now is Michael Dempsey (no relation to Dick Dempsey).
Yenzer worked with or for 32 attorneys during her tenure, three whom became judges.
“I’ve always said when you get in the legal field, you either love it or you hate it. There’s nothing in between,” she said.
Yenzer said she enjoyed the challenges her job brought, as well as working with the clients and her co-workers — who have become like family.
Always a hard worker, Yenzer had some advice for those going into the legal field today.
First, don’t rely on somebody else to show you how to do something. And, she noted, if you’re not sure if you like the field, give it a little time to grow on you.
“Working there was worth any struggle I ever had,” she said. “If I had it to do all over again, I’d do the same thing. I wouldn’t trade a minute in that office for anything.”