The judge I clerked for, John Grady (ND Ill) died this week. I’ve mentioned him in this blog before (From Ulane to Hively, Woman on a wall). He was a great guy, in many ways.
In 2015, when he retired from the bench, his former clerks put together a book of letters we wrote to say thanks to him. Here’s what I said:
It is almost 30 years from when I finished clerking for you – why is it I feel like retiring soon, and you are just doing this now? You must be made of sterner stuff.
I don’t keep my law school or undergraduate diplomas on my office wall, but I have hung with pride the certificate for rendering service as your law clerk.
Thank you for getting me on the right foot at the beginning of my career. You taught me much not only in the law, but how to be a good boss -when to intervene, and when to just let your students work it out for themselves. You also showed me what a good judge does. For example, I remember when you needed to re-sentence defendants in a rather notorious case. After you listened to their oral arguments, you called a recess for about a half-hour, then returned to the bench and announced the sentences. Afterward, you took me aside and said that some of the arguments made that day had affected your decision. I now concentrate primarily on appellate law, and engage in lots of oral arguments. I always keep the point you made that day near to my heart, to remind me that every argument counts, and it’s not over until the judge actually rules.
Thanks very much for being my teacher and serving the legal community and public with grace and thoughtfulness for these many years.
He was patient, kind, civil, and thoughtful – all attributes of a good judge.
He’ll be missed.