December 3, 2020
It was 1987 when Donna Stokowski made a change that would shape the rest of her career. At that time, she had worked for two local radio stations – WGAR and WNCX. There, she scheduled commercials, processed invoices and worked as a receptionist. But, she was looking for more growth that the radio stations couldn’t offer. So, she reached out to an employment agency.
“I started out as a temporary employee,” said Stokowski, Walter | Haverfield’s accounting and billing administrator. “I could have never guessed that the opportunity would have blossomed into what it has.”
Stokowski took an accounting clerk position at Walter | Haverfield just as the department was gearing up to convert to a computerized accounting system. Fast forward 33 years, and Stokowski is now one of the most senior staff members at the firm.
“Since first starting at Walter | Haverfield, my children have become adults,” said Stokowski of Brunswick Hills. “Although life keeps changing and evolving, the steadfastness of the firm and the level of hard work that everyone is committed to here makes me appreciate my work that much more.”
Stokowski looks back on her early days with the firm fondly. In particular, she enjoyed distributing checks with Rusk Haverfield, co-founder of Walter | Haverfield.
“Rusk Haverfield had the most beautiful handwriting,” said Stokowski. “Back then, we had to keep the books manually, and he would spend hours signing checks and various paperwork. You would find him with a pen in one hand and a cigar in the other.”
Haverfield, a Harvard law school graduate, joined Paul Walter in 1932 to found Walter | Haverfield. Both passed away in 1992.
As Stokowski grew professionally at the firm, the firm grew alongside her. Once a team of 30 attorneys, Walter | Haverfield is now a team of more than 90 attorneys across multiple offices in Ohio. Stokowski is proud to have experienced such expansion which keeps her job challenging.
“It’s funny how technology has made my job both easier and more complicated over the years,” joked Stokowski.
In a span of three decades, Stokowski has transitioned from keeping all accounting records manually to managing a firm-wide digital billing management system.
“In all seriousness, I am thankful for all of the people who make up the accounting department and beyond.”
Stokowski plans to work a few more years before enjoying retirement. She is looking forward to the day she can both enjoy a slower pace and no longer commute during rush hour.
Since 1932, Walter | Haverfield attorneys have served as strategic counselors to private businesses, public entities and high-net-worth individuals, providing creative and customized solutions that deliver outstanding results at an exceptional value. Our track record has allowed us to sustain year-after-year growth. Walter | Haverfield has more than doubled in the past decade to become one of Cleveland’s top ten law firms with additional offices located in Columbus, Mayfield Heights and Avon. Today, our team of 90 attorneys is focused primarily in the areas of business services, real estate, intellectual property, education, labor and employment, tax and wealth management, hospitality and liquor control law, litigation and public law.