Meet the Legal Staff
BB&W's law clerks, paralegals, and legal assistants have well over 100 years of combined experience across the legal profession and are a vital element of the firm's continued success.
Elaine M. Houchen
Ms. Houchen is a lifelong Alaskan with over 30 years of experience working as a legal secretary and paralegal in Alaska and has obtained her Professional Paralegal and Professional Legal Secretary certifications from NALS. As a legal secretary she is highly skilled, conscientious, and has an eye for detail and balance. As a paralegal she has special expertise in all aspects of case organization, discovery management, and trial preparation. Ms. Houchen has attended and assisted Mr. Brena in over 30 hearings, arbitrations, or trials, several of which lasted for months.
Mardelle K. Syren Jordet
Ms. Syren Jordet is a paralegal for BB&W with over 35 years of experience as a legal secretary and paralegal in Alaska. She has worked for BB&W since its inception, assisting Mr. Brena in organizing the firm from the ground up including office design, acquisition of supplies and equipment, selection and implementation of computer and database systems, and hiring staff. Ms. Syren Jordet obtained her Professional Paralegal and Professional Legal Secretary certifications from NALS, has proven herself to be a valuable trial assistant, and is a skilled researcher with in-depth experience managing large-document cases using complex database programs and web-based, e-discovery management.
Avonna L. Murfitt
Ms. Murfitt is a certified professional legal secretary and an experienced paralegal with over 40 years of Alaska legal experience in nearly all fields of law, including general business, corporate law, employment issues, wills, estates, real estate, immigration, personal injury, appellate, and regulatory law. Ms. Murfitt’s vast experience with litigation case organization and trial preparation and her knowledge of applicable court rules and procedures, combined with a professional work ethic, make Ms. Murfitt an invaluable resource at BB&W.
Mary G. Hodsdon
Ms. Hodsdon is a lifelong Alaskan with over 15 years of experience as a paralegal. She has a paralegal certificate from Charter College and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree from Alaska Pacific University.
Mindy R. Seay
Ms. Seay has over 15 years of experience with BB&W as a paralegal, and obtained her Professional Paralegal and Professional Legal Secretary certifications from NALS. She has excellent team management and delegation skills, as well as a strong understanding of the tools of modern trial technology. Ms. Seay has assisted Mr. Brena in many complex hearings and trials.
Melody A. Nardin
Ms. Nardin is Mr. Brena’s legal assistant. She has over 10 years of experience in several areas of law and is pursuing a degree from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.
L. Jeanne McPherren
Ms. McPherren has been a legal professional in Anchorage for 50 years and specializes in research and writing. She was classified as an associate attorney by the Department of Law for the Commissioners of the Alaska Public Utilities Commission and its successor the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. Her tenure with the Commission spanned over 30 years during which she supervised the Commissioners’ immediate staff and was involved in editing and drafting many decisions. She also worked on adoption of many of the Commission’s regulations and was the regulations manager during her final years at the Commission. Before coming to BB&W, Ms. McPherren was a Local Government Specialist IV with the State Division of Community and Regional Affairs serving as staff to the Local Boundary Commission, which oversees all municipal boundary changes in Alaska.