Shannon Barker doesn’t just scan through resumes when she is about to hire someone. She looks at the person inside out, to make sure that he or she would really fit into Bisnar Chase culture – a culture she has worked hard to build over the past 25 years.
“I look for people who not only have the necessary skill sets,” Shannon says. “They have to want to be here.”
Building a Culture of Civility
Shannon came to the firm in July 1995 as a paralegal and negotiator after working four years at another law firm. She quickly became a team leader and built a solid reputation for handling a multitude of issues related to the firm as a whole. Shannon’s skills in law firm management created a culture other lawyers look to model after.
Shannon is a seasoned and natural team leader with an eye for client satisfaction. Her ideas and methods create a cohesive team of employees who truly enjoy working together. That natural skill also shows in how the clients of Bisnar Chase are treated.
“It was really important to me to have a balanced and happy team because how we treat each other translates to how we treat clients. We wanted it to be the kind of personal attention you get at The Ritz Hotel,” she said. “Clients notice everything – how you dress, how you talk, our décor. Our staff is happy and appreciated and it shows in everything they do, and that directly impacts our clients.”
An Inspiring Leader
Shannon has always been organized and goal-oriented. Mrs. Barker is an ABA-certified paralegal and holds her MBA at Chapman University. In addition to setting goals for herself, Shannon also inspires her staff. She strives for quality in her employees and provides continuing education in a variety of programs and cross-training.
Shannon says working for John Bisnar taught her to always push herself, and continuing her education opened up her thought process which impacted her skills in leading a successful team.
Shannon is very clear and very direct in her management style, which is the hallmark of a good administrator. Shannon leads by example, and her habit of being an active listener makes staff members feel appreciated and heard. Her door is always open to everyone.
Maintaining a Delicate Balance
Attorney H. Gavin Long says Shannon knows when to push and when to back off, whether it’s working with a mediator or running the office.
“She is very good at making everyone believe in themselves,” he says. “If an employee has an idea or approach that they would like to try out, she is very supportive and is always positive. She is constantly encouraging people to get the most out of their jobs.”
John Bisnar views her as a woman of character.
“Shannon is a woman of integrity – she is organized, strict, and straightforward, but also caring and personable. She knows how to bring out the best in everyone she manages. She also has the ability to make tough decisions under fire.”
“I know that the employees respect her a great deal and look to her not only for professional guidance but personal guidance as well,” John says.
Managing partner and trial lawyer Brian Chase says Shannon has the skills to not only motivate her team but to successfully deal with a multitude of different personalities including a team of 8 attorneys. “Shannon has top-notch communication and listening skills. Our team respects her and because of that, responds very well to her management style”.
Shannon believes that the firm has succeeded not just because of her, but because of the fantastic team that is in place.
“We all have each other’s back. We still see ourselves as a small mom-and-pop enterprise. I’ve been here twenty-five years. Today, when I see how far we’ve come and what we’ve accomplished, I’m really proud. We did it as a group.”