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In this Insider series, we're highlighting FindLaw employees who have been with the company the longest. Today we're excited to feature Lorna Beich, who joined FindLaw in 2003. She currently serves as the company's User Support Specialist.
When did you join FindLaw and what first attracted you to the company?
Funny story: In Nov. 2002, I had been working in a small pharmaceutical company in South San Francisco which was suddenly acquired by another company. They decided they didn't need two librarians, so they laid me off and gave me severance until the end of the year.
Feeling sorry for myself, I cleared out my desk then drove down to Mountain View to get a drink with a friend from library school who worked at a little company called FindLaw. She encouraged me to talk to one of the founders, Tim Stanley, who offered me a job on the spot, but told me that the new budget wouldn't go into effect until January, so I'd have to wait until the new year. Right when my severance ended. Perfect! My first day was Jan 17, 2003.
What's your current role with the company? What roles have you held in the past?
When I started there were so few of us we kind of just did whatever needed to be done. At some point I worked with Eric Reinhard on the Corporate Counsel Center. Then I worked for a time with a small group working on maintaining and updating all the content on the public(consumer) side of the website. Around 2008 I took over the whole Consumer Feedback queue. Before that it was apportioned out to many employees.
At the moment I'm the entire "Consumer Feedback Team". I get about 45 messages a week. Most are requests to remove a case that is making a user embarrassed when searching self (which we usually deny without a court order), or requests to reset their justicemail password. My title has always been "Web Producer" but I'm known around the companyas a User Support Specialist.
Where did you go to school and where did you work before FindLaw?
Back in 1991 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (fortunately, it's not fatal). At the time I had little to no symptoms, and since the medical thinking at the time was that if I didn't develop problems within five years, I wouldn't ever have problems. (Hence after the five years I thought I was home free, that I had escaped getting symptoms. But unfortunately a few years ago I began to have symptoms, suggesting that the disease had been "silently" progressing all along, and so the symptoms progressed pretty rapidly.)
So I got my Masters Degree in Library and Information Science at San Jose State in 1999 (and learned to ride a motorcycle immediately after the diagnosis, something I had wanted to do since I was a child). I started my library career working at the Alameda County Public Library System in the Union City and Fremont branches. Next I worked at a now defunct law firm in San Francisco. Then I worked at a document delivery company, heading their "Rush" department, filling same-day orders. And finally I was hired to start up a corporate library in the pharmaceutical industry.
How has the company changed over time? How has it stayed the same?
I finally gave up the motorcycle when it became clear to me that I wasn't going to be in a wheelchair (at that time). But today I can't walk much, and I don't drive. I am in a wheelchair for much of the day, but still working full-time from home, thanks to FindLaw and Thomson Reuters. And the company still has that care and concern for its employees. Years ago when I began to telecommute, I was the only employee to do so. Now, it is very commonplace. I guess that's a sign of the times, and not so much company-specific. Still, I appreciate it.
One standout and/or funny memory from your first few years here.
When I first started, I was a little shy; I had some law background but I wasn't a lawyer. In the Los Altos office, my cubicle was right next to the server room. I came in one day, sat down, and started to hear running water. I stood up and noticed that no one seemed concerned; I assumed they all could clearly hear it. So I just sat back down. A few minutes later I had talked myself into telling someone, and then people started to run around in a frenzy! It turned out to be a broken water pipe on the roof that leaked down and flooded our server room (as Andy Zangrilli has also described).
What's your favorite thing about working at FindLaw?
I really enjoy helping newbies navigate a topic and showing them our free stuff that can help them. It's like an extension of my library skills.
What's your favorite thing to do outside of work?
These days I read a lot, and write some. I enjoy knitting and Spider Solitaire and getting together with friends. My husband will tell you I'm too quiet, but he is a good match for me: he talks all the time.