Around Wagenmaker & Oberly: A Personal Year-End Review

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We at Wagenmaker & Oberly are thankful for each of you and the opportunity to provide updates on nonprofit legal topics, through our monthly e-newsletter and website resources.  For a change of pace, we’d like to get personal and share some updates about our law firm as well as what we love about our clients and legal work. 


Sally, Ryan, and Paul remain committed to building a team of trusted legal advisors at the forefront of nonprofit law shaped by our firm's values. Our law firm will celebrate its fifth anniversary this March. Our Charleston, South Carolina office is now two years old.

Sally loves the everyday challenges and joys of coming alongside clients, as each articulates their own unique passion for improving the world.  Whether in crisis or planning mode, Sally helps them achieve successful beginnings, transitions, and solutions.  “Let’s make it easy for the government to say ‘yes,’” and “Sure, we can help with that!” are some of her favorite expressions, along with “Documentation is my middle name.”

Ryan enjoys working on legal issues for nonprofits, especially fun tax issues and strategic solutions for thorny client problems. “Spending each day with my inspiring colleagues is awesome; working every day from an island is—as my 2nd grade son might say—epic!” Ryan is based in South Carolina and enjoys the benefits of his frequent flyer status to Chicago. 

Paul appreciates the regular opportunities for mutual learning with Wagenmaker & Oberly’s highly insightful and intelligent staff. “In the dynamic exempt organizations legal arena, it is important to have an atmosphere of learning.”  Paul means what he says, as he not only counsels clients on corporate, tax, and many other legal areas affecting nonprofits, but is now also regularly teaching at DePaul University Law School and Northwestern’s School of Professional Studies on – what else – nonprofit law!

Our Paralegals

Our paralegal team is led by Garry Arkema. As a former food program manager for a Chicagoland church, Garry sharpened his organizational skills through arranging regular meals for the underprivileged. “After working in a local church for decades and running into lots of legal questions, I’m glad to be part of a team that knows how to help organizations through a wide variety of legal issues.” Garry is also the firm’s star bike commuter and can be found zipping through the streets of Chicago during the winter.

Darren Yau is a Wheaton college graduate. He recently received First Prize for the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity’s Ethics Essay Contest; the piece is titled, “Truthfulness and Tragedy: Notes from an Immigrant’s Son.” Darren enjoys the culture of learning and humility present at Wagenmaker & Oberly. He one day wishes to commute to work on bike like Garry, but will wait until New Year’s to think about it more.

Jordan Lindquist is a recent Taylor University graduate and a newlywed. When asked about her time at Wagenmaker & Oberly, she said, “I love working here because it’s provided me with an amazing opportunity to grow as I learn more about nonprofit sector. In addition, it’s been fun getting to connect with so many people doing notable work across the country and around the world!” Jordan is the star tea taster at the firm and is the proud designer of our firm Christmas cards.

Together, our paralegal team faithfully serves our clients to ensure that documents are prepared and processed well and our clients’ needs are met with excellence.

The Associate Attorneys

To complete our legal team, we have a fantastic crew of associate attorneys. Jonathan Hwang’s  background as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney and keen jurisprudential interests have equipped him well for our wide-ranging client needs. For Jon, “It is so fulfilling to be part of a team which integrates unique interests, passions, and skill sets to effectively serve, walk alongside, and help our clients achieve their missions.” Jon has been working in our Chicago office and will be moving soon to our Charleston office. He is a longstanding and loyal fan of Chik-fil-A, even on Sundays.

Maggie Beecher graduated this spring from Chicago-Kent. When reflecting on the year, Maggie says, “The work being accomplished by our clients here inspires me every day, and it is very meaningful to play a role in helping them fulfill their missions. The partners and my co-workers have taught me so much in my first months here. I’ve even learned to be a coffee connoisseur, thanks to our coffee tasting contest here in the Chicago office!” Maggie is our firm's first Aggie. 

Angie Thomas earned her law degree several years ago. After enjoying years at home with three wonderful sons, she returned as a paralegal to the Charleston office. In nine months she quickly transitioned to a law clerk position and is now an associate attorney. Angie appreciates focusing on our clients legal issues so that they are free to focus on advancing their mission. She has lived in the Charleston area for over 15 years, and holds the reigning title for best Southern accent in the firm.

Claude Tackett also has served our clients from the Charleston office with his strong litigation and church administration background. He will be departing soon for a new litigation job in Spartanburg, and we wish him the very best. Reflecting on his time at Wagenmaker & Oberly, Claude says, “I have enjoyed meeting people all over the United States. It is a daily blessing to hear the individual stories that often shape the central mission and success of our nonprofit clients.”

Our newest law firm addition is Elisa Anchan, who recently moved to Chicago from Nebraska and is also a newlywed. We are delighted to welcome her in January 2018, to round out our team of dedicated legal professionals caring wholeheartedly for our clients and our broader community.