Matthew Splitek (2007-08, 2008-09)

Quarles & Brady
Chief Justice Abrahamson and Matthew Splitek's family
Chief Justice Abrahamson and Matthew Splitek’s family

Since clerking, I have been a litigator at Quarles & Brady in Madison, where I live with my wife and three kids. And all of that actually traces to my time with the Chief. I’d originally planned to leave Madison for a job in D.C. after my clerkship ended. But a few weeks in, the Chief asked me to stay for a second year, when she’d be running for reelection. A bit after I said yes, it occurred to me that going two years without meeting anyone outside the office might be a bad idea. This resulted, unexpectedly, in my meeting my future wife and, a short time later, her four-year-old daughter—who as of 2023 is a college junior and the eldest of our three children. So the Chief’s invitation to stay on for another twelve months turned out to be wonderfully life-changing in ways I had not imagined.

Memories of the clerkship: All the Sundays. That was the best part of it: having this brilliant and dogged person move into my office and let me see how she worked. Those were some of the most challenging, satisfying, and often fun days I’ve had in this profession. I always felt like each Sunday was worth a year of law school. That was also the time when I got to see, not only the Chief’s legendary work ethic, but her humility. She didn’t talk about her accomplishments—she was just there, at the interns’ desk by my door, pushing herself to do the best she possibly could on every single opinion. She seemed to mine every brief, memo, and draft from the other chambers for anything that might help her improve her own work. Almost inexplicably, she also treated the new attorney sitting in the room with her like a valued partner. Those days were a privilege, and I often think back upon them fondly.

Chief Justice Abrahamson and Matthew Splitek's daughter
Chief Justice Abrahamson and Matthew Splitek’s daughter