My clerkship year with Chief Justice Abrahamson was fascinating and challenging. It was fascinating because the Wisconsin Supreme Court has discretion over which appeals to hear. Every case the Court takes involves issues of first impression, with many important doctrinal and policy choices for the court to make. It was challenging because the workload was intense. We had around 90 cases that term, and I was the only law clerk in the Chief’s chambers. We had a lot of help from interns, though. Working for Chief Justice Abrahamson taught me the meaning of hard work. She typically worked from 9 a.m. […]
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Here are some memories of the Chief from the 1999-2000 term. She was the hardest working boss I have ever had. She used to set a lovely dinner, with fine china, for her fellow Justices in the Chambers, especially Justice Bradley. She enjoyed Italian food, especially focaccia bread with olive oil and mozzarella. She was the model of judicial independence and integrity. She was wonderful in teaching schoolchildren about the role and functions of the judiciary.
My clerkship with Shirley was both inspiring personally and foundational to my legal development. She stood as a living example of how to navigate a career dedicated to public service and built on a bedrock of ethics. To this day, I keep of photograph of her in my office that I can see from my desk as a reminder that she is both watching me, and watching over me. In addition to a foremost legal mind, Shirley was tough as nails, and all business in the courtroom, often displaying a rather stern demeanor with the litigators. For instance, during the […]
I clerked for “the Boss,” as I still call Shirley in my mind to this day, during Justice Day’s lone year as Chief (Shirley’s nickname was bestowed by her assistant during my year there: Sue Fieber). Legends (and fables) be damned: what I saw, all year, was a lovefest between Chief Justice Day and the Boss, who would become Chief upon Justice Day’s retirement. For all their disputes and differences, ideological and philosophical, these two long-serving Justices shared an abiding commitment to the Court as an institution that’s been MIA during the ensuing quarter century, during which one of the […]
This is a photo from the wedding that Shirley performed for me and my husband, Greg Boyer, in Madison on June 28, 2002. (When I suggested swapping “husband and wife” in our minimal vows for “partners,” she admonished that the statute – providing the citation off the top of her head – required “husband and wife.”)
My work requires a lot of writing, and my ability to write well and quickly is recognized and valued in my organization. As others have said, I learned how to write during my clerkship. I also got inspired to travel to places I would never have imagined going. I’m grateful for both of those things!
My memories – Still maybe the best job ever, and a boss I will always admire greatly. I learned lessons that I have passed down to many of the interns and attorneys who have worked for me. I was reminded that “We must thoroughly address every party and every argument” after I failed to address an argument in a pro se brief based on the Declaration of Independence.
I had the privilege to clerk for the Chief when she had only been on the bench ten years. One classic story is that she called me on a Saturday morning to offer me the job. I was dating a guy in Nashville where I attended law school so was on the fence about a move. I asked if I could have the weekend to think it over. She said, “No, you can have an hour.” So I quickly called around and talked to my Vanderbilt professor who told me she was a rising star and I should accept a […]