Thursday, July 22, 2021

Meet the Team!

            Now that I have had this blog up and running for a couple of months, I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce you to the amazing people who make up the Law Office of Marcie Baker and keep the office running smoothly.

            First, we have Office Administrator, Ruthie Ortiz. As an office administrator, Ruthie handles the phones, screens new clients, maintains our filing room, and completes various other administrative tasks. Ruthie has been working for Marcie for 3 years. Ruthie was born in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, but as an infant moved to Vineland, New Jersey. She later moved to Florida and has been living here for almost 47 years. She has been married for 37 years and has two children (a daughter and a son) and three grandchildren who are her WORLD. She worked in the banking industry for 13 years and then for attorneys in the Tampa area before coming to work for Marcie. She loves everything about working for Marcie, but her favorite thing about working for Marcie is that she treats us all like family. She spends every moment of her off days with family. One unique thing about Ruthie is that in her early 40’s she was diagnosed with Vitiligo. It used to really bother her, but eventually she realized it doesn’t define who she is as a person and now embraces it.


            Next, we have Paralegal, Brandy Rich. As a paralegal, Brandy handles court documents, communicating with opposing counsel and other paralegals, and handling whatever other legal assistance Marcie may need. Brandy has been working with Marcie for 11 ½ years. She is a true Florida girl, she was born in nearby Plant City and has lived in Zephyrhills since 3rd grade. Her favorite thing about working for Marcie is that the office always has a family atmosphere. Marcie makes sure that all of us take care of ourselves and our families first no matter how high the pile of work is on our desks. She will never hesitate to ask about our lives, families, and health because she truly cares. On her days off, Brandy loves anything outdoors, especially boating/fishing. Brandy says she isn’t unique (I disagree), but her guilty pleasure is online boutique shopping and she will never turn down a dress with pockets.


            I serve as a Law Clerk/Legal Intern. Besides running this blog and social media platforms, I also conduct research on various topics for Marcie as well as sit in on client meetings, depositions, mediations, and other court proceedings. I have been working with Marcie since May, and hope to continue with her through the next school year as long as my schedule allows it. I was born in Illinois, and raised about an hour south of Chicago. I moved to Wesley Chapel in 2019 and absolutely love Florida. I hope to practice law in Florida after graduating law school and have already began my application to the Florida Bar. My favorite thing about working for Marcie is that she makes sure we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We work hard and get the job done, but that doesn’t mean we don’t take time to laugh, tell stories, or witness Marcie’s impromptu hallway dance parties. I also knew that I liked Marcie right away when she called me to come in for an interview and we immediately bonded over Chick-fil-A. On my “off” days you can find me baking banana bread and other sweet treats, dog sitting, and/or working as Research Assistant and Judicial Law Clerk. One unique thing about me is that if my dream was not to become a lawyer, then I would go to culinary school to become a chef.


Marcie grew up in Virginia and moved to Florida after her dad retired from the military. Growing up, she always thought that she was going to be a librarian after falling in love with reading when she was 12. At age 16, she started working in a nursing home as a nursing assistant, and in 1981, she entered the retail world. From 1981-1983 she worked in stores like Leewards. One of her main jobs was working in the art class section of the store where she would teach oil painting, stained glass and floral design. She even did private painting lessons. In 1984 she moved to the Gainsville/Ocala area and worked in retail management at a specialty clothing store until 1988.

At the end of 1988, Marcie decided to go back to school to become a legal assistant after an employee told her that she would be good at it. While working on her degree, she worked as a manager of an assisted living facility and obtained her degree in 1990. She was inspired by the lawyers who had taught her classes and ultimately decided to go to law school. After completing her Bachelor's at UCF in December of 1992, she prepared to take the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) while also working as a manager of a fine jewelry store. She started at Stetson Law in May of 1994 and went on to graduate cum laude in December of 1996.

Marcie has always been a people person who is also incredibly selfless and never fails to put the needs and concerns of others before her own. She quickly discovered that she liked more of the administrative law aspect, and that criminal law was not for her. Workers' Compensation is very administrative in nature - while there is a Work Comp judge, there are no jury trials. After being admitted to the Florida Bar in 1997 she went on to practice Work Comp for her first 7 years as an attorney. In 2003, she knew that the field of Work Comp was rapidly, and drastically, changing and decided to expand her specialties to family law. Family law is similar to Work Comp in that it is also administrative in nature. She would be bored just doing transactional work and loves that every day and every case is different. She has always been an advocate of alternative dispute resolution and in 2011 she became certified as Family law mediator. She believes that in Family law it is important for clients to understand that they have the power to control their future. To add to her Family law skillset, she trained in Collaborative Family Law in April of 2019 and has been bringing that in to her Family law practice ever since. She is a firm believer in giving clients the ability to retain the power to make decisions in their cases.

Marcie and Sandy

            And last but certainly not least, our unofficial 5th team member and office cat, Sandy. Sandy is about 2 years old. Despite this being Marcie’s office, Sandy believes that she’s the boss of us all. Besides Marcie loving cats, one of the main reasons for keeping Sandy in the office was that she played, and continues to play, a role as an unofficial therapy cat. Pre-COVID, she would sit in on mediations acting as a stress reliever for clients. During COVID, she was a bright spot in the office for the team when there was so much uncertainty and sadness. The day of my interview, she stood outside the conference room doors yowling, demanding to be let in so that she could have all of the attention. Now that is a daily occurrence, sometimes multiple times a day, as she makes her rounds to our offices looking for back scratches and a pile of paperwork to lay on. We also recently discovered that in true prima donna fashion, Sandy will only eat name brand tuna. So it looks like there will be a bulk purchase of StarKist in Marcie's future.

She wanted her own headshot of course.

            It is truly a privilege to work with these ladies (and Sandy) and I am so thankful for all of the experiences they are exposing me to and the lessons they are teaching me during my time here. I look forward to continuing to work with all of them as I begin my 2L year at Stetson next month.

Hope you enjoyed meeting our team!

1 comment:

  1. These ladies will make you smile and feel comfortable and at ease the moment you walk in the door. Sandy also give kisses.


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