Neil Byl (2003-04)

Office of State Public Defense Services (Oregon)
Neil Byl and Chief Justice Abrahamson
Neil Byl and Chief Justice Abrahamson

I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to clerk for the Chief. I didn’t have a job immediately out of law school, but Justice Bradley was gracious enough to offer me the opportunity to volunteer in her chambers while I continued my search.

After a few months, the phone rang in the intern office and it was Justice Bradley on the phone. The Chief’s clerk had decided to depart and the Chief was interested in hiring Christine Remington and me to share his spot. I would interview in ten minutes. I could hardly believe it.

I learned so much in those months working with the Chief and Justice Bradley. What stands out most is the importance of remaining curious and thoroughly researching and addressing every legal argument. Not only because it is important to get the law right, but it is also important to be fair to the parties.

Long after my clerkship ended, the Chief was there for me as a friend. When I drove down from Seattle to Salem, Oregon to surprise her at a symposium she was attending, she introduced me to Oregon’s Chief Justice, who put me in touch with my current employer. I now have my dream job and couldn’t be happier.

I will always be grateful for the opportunity the Chief gave me to prove myself and find my calling. Many people know her for her unparalleled work ethic, keen intellect, and commitment to public service. All true. But what stands out most to me is her kind, generous spirit. She was an amazing judge and mentor, but an even better friend. Thank you, Chief.