My office had our summer picnic Tuesday in honor of my former supervisor, Arlene Callender. Arlene was recently promoted to chief attorney for Legal Aid’s Bel Air office. Of course I am excited about her new job but, for selfish reasons, I am sad to see her go.
Arlene has played a pivotal role in my development as a young attorney. Like many, I’ve experienced jobs where I would wake up and dread going to work. On the other hand, I’ve worked places where I loved going to the office every day.
Since I’ve been working at Legal Aid, there has not been one day where I woke up and dreaded going to the office. I feel this way because I’m part of a team that is collaborative, supportive and talented that I attribute to Arlene’s leadership and management style.
I’ve been with Legal Aid for almost two years, walking into the office with little practical knowledge of family law. As a new attorney, there have been occasions where I have doubted myself and my capabilities. But Arlene was always able to give me the encouragement I needed to rid my self of such doubts. I was always able to walk into her office at anytime to ask her questions and seek counsel. Her open-door policy eased my anxiety when I was confused, overwhelmed or just plain lost with a case.
Most importantly, she’s extremely knowledgeable about the practice of family law. Having a supervisor like her, who also edited countless documents and cheered me on in court makes for an enjoyable and productive work environment.
The best example of how Arlene showed her support were her surprise weekend visits on those occasions when I would be alone at the office on a Saturday or Sunday prepping for a case. Arlene would unexpectedly show up, saying, “I figured you were going to be here and I just wanted to check to see how you were doing.” I’m not sure how often that happens with other new attorneys in other firms, but to have that type of support meant the world to me.
I have much respect for Arlene and I wanted to use this forum to express my gratitude and appreciation for the work she has done for the clients we serve, her contributions to the office and the support she has given not only me, but to my colleagues. I was fortunate to learn so much from her and I’m going to miss having her as my supervisor.
The great thing is that she is still with Legal Aid and only a phone call away. I’m sure her new staff is definitely going to appreciate having her as their chief as much as I enjoyed having her as my supervisor.