Megan Ballard (1994-95)

Professor, Gonzaga Law School
Chief Justice Abrahamson officiating at Megan Ballard's wedding in 2002.
Chief Justice Abrahamson officiating at Megan Ballard’s wedding in 2002.

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.”)

The other photo is of Shirley and me at Angkor Wat during our travels in Cambodia, summer 1995, directly following my clerkship.  I served as a pro bono attorney with the Cambodian Court Training Project (CCTP) of the International Human Rights Law Group, a position Shirley helped me to secure.  Shirley and Seymour visited for a couple of weeks and Shirley spoke with groups of judges around the country.

As for my professional trajectory, I am a Professor at Gonzaga Law School.  I have been fortunate to have worked full time as a professor since 2000.  I very much doubt that my legal career would have been so fulfilling were it not for Shirley’s support.  I distinctly recall sitting on a bench with her outside the state capital in 1998 and expressing my doubts about my ability to succeed in academia.  She was entirely pragmatic and wise, lending advice that helped me take the leap from practice to academia.

Justice Abrahamson and Megan Ballard at Angkor Wat in Cambodia

As for memories of my clerkship, I have many.  We worked hard, laughed a lot, and argued only briefly.  The memory I draw on most was Shirley’s conviction that two heads are always better than one in addressing any problem.  To this day, in my office I have a statue of the head of a Cambodian prince that I found while in Phnom Penh with Shirley and Seymour.  I share with my students who ask about his calm expression the wisdom that Shirley shared with me – two heads are indeed always better than one.

Shirley has influenced my career more than any single person and helped to shape the strong ethical lens through which I view lawyering and teaching.