A lot of work goes on at a law office, far too much for any lawyer to handle alone. They rely on people such as Rosa Wilkes, Legal Secretary at Rhame, Elwood, & McClure. She handles a wide array of tasks for their family law department such as working on divorces, managing documents, scheduling appointments, and moving through discovery.
“There’s never a dull moment, especially here in family law,” Wilkes said. “I had worked in an employment law firm before and it felt like the same thing every day. Here, we’re handling all kinds of cases and seeing lots of stories.”
Wilkes has spent nearly her entire professional career in law offices, but it was not something she had imagined growing up.
“Believe it or not, I wanted to be a schoolteacher,” she said. “When I got out of high school I started looking at colleges and realized that I didn’t really want to attend a four-year university. I went to a little business school, Robert Morris College, for legal secretarial because I’d gotten interested in the field by watching lots of forensic stories and drama. I started to imagine being a secretary or a case worker.”
Wilkes started her career in Chicago.
“It took two years or so for me to really start liking it, because I got started doing receptionist work related to tile insurance,” she said. “When I finally did get to move into real legal work, it was difficult because I didn’t have any real world experience. The attorney I worked for gave me all the opportunities I needed. She taught me a lot, and I thank her for that.”
What she loves most about her work and what she finds most difficult are closely tied together. On one hand, she knows that she cannot get emotionally invested in the cases that come through their doors. On the other, she always gets excited to see the conclusion.
“You can’t make it personal, no matter what,” she said. “But my favorite part is seeing the outcome. Especially in things like custody cases, it’s great to see things get resolved for the sake of the child. I really like it when we get parents that just agree on things and don’t fight about anything, because in the end that’s the best thing for them and the child.”
Wilkes moved from Illinois to Crown Point and started working at Rhame, Elwood, & McClure almost a decade ago. Though the environment is different, the work is still quite similar.
“I really want to thank all the attorneys here especially John Rhame, and also Cheryl Williamson, who left when she was appointed a magistrate,” Wilkes said. “I’m grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to start my career back up here in Indiana.”
Outside of work, Wilkes loves relaxing and traveling with her husband.
“We’ve been abroad to Jamaica, Cancún, but we’re also trying to travel the States so we’ve been to places like Vegas and Texas,” she said. “It’s also great just to sit out and relax by the pool while listening to music.”
To learn more about Rhame, Elwood, & McClure, visit them at rhameandelwood.com.