Manager of Mischief

Who: Marceline O’Connor Johnson


Company: Schiff Hardin & Waite

Age: 60

Has Held Title For: 3 years

Previous Titles: Manager of marketing and communications

Degrees: BS in French, the University of Minnesota; MA candidate in professional-services marketing, DePaul University

You might expect a Manager of Mischief to spend her time pulling pranks or spreading computer viruses. In fact, Marceline O’Connor Johnson’s job is to lighten the mood for the 240-plus lawyers and clients at a leading Chicago law firm. Her colleagues in the firm’s Fun Department include the director of fun and the creator of celebrations. And you thought lawyers took themselves too seriously.

Does making mischief make money?

My job is helping the lawyers to relax, making business development fun for them, and allowing clients to see them as people — not just as legal machines.

Are you naturally mischievous?

I have an element of reserve that’s mixed with a spirit of adventure and a willingness to try different things. I do write a lot of rhyming emails.

Do you ever stop playing games?

Of course. You can run the risk of not being taken seriously. I have to read other people and know what buttons to push, and I need to know what constitutes fun in their eyes.