Breaking News

On the retirement of the incomparable Emily Spadoni

Solicitors General come and go, as do members of the Solicitor General’s staff.  Despite that turnover, the SG’s Office has continued to function at the highest possible level, both in the quality of its work and its assistance to the Court.  There is a reason for that, and her name is Emily Spadoni.  We used to have a saying in the Office when I was there:  no one in the Office is irreplaceable – no one, that is, except Emily.  But this year, after serving the Solicitor General’s Office for the better part of thirty years, Emily has finally retired.

For those of you who are not familiar with Emily, she began her career in the Solicitor General’s Office in 1982 as a Secretary and Legal Administrative Assistant.  After a brief hiatus in private practice, she returned to the Office and ultimately became the Manager of the Case Management Section.  Emily served in that capacity until her recent retirement.

I never saw Emily’s job description, but an accurate one would have been simple to write:  “Everything that needs to be done.”  She processed everything that came into the Office, organized the Office’s massive number of files, kept track of all due dates, and ensured timely and accurate filings.  Perhaps most important, she was the Office’s line of communication with the Supreme Court’s Clerk’s Office and with everyone else outside the SG’s Office.  She selflessly performed all those tasks and more, and she did it with unrelenting dedication, an unparalleled sense of personal responsibility for the quality of the Office’s work, a deep reservoir of knowledge about the Office and the Court, and an unwavering commitment to getting things right.

For attorneys like me, that meant we could concentrate our energies on writing the best briefs possible, knowing with certainty that Emily would not let us miss deadlines, get the dates wrong on extension requests, get the form wrong on motions, fail to satisfy filing requirements, or be unaware of anything else we needed to know.  In times of crisis – during government shutdowns, the post-September-11 anthrax attacks, or the massive flooding and temporary abandonment of the DOJ building — Emily was at her best, moving heaven and earth so that the Office never missed a deadline or lost track of a filing.  By performing her job the way she did, Emily earned the trust of every Solicitor General, every Deputy, every Assistant, and every member of the staff.  And the Court had complete faith in her, realizing the enormous service she rendered to both the Court and the SG’s Office.

Emily did not seek or want recognition for what she thought of as just doing her job.  And true to her character, she insisted that there should not be an event to mark her departure.  But I am sorry Emily, I did not agree to that, and I refuse to let your departure go without the tribute you deserve.  On behalf of everyone who has worked with you over the years, thank you Emily, and may you have a long and happy retirement.

Recommended Citation: Irv Gornstein, On the retirement of the incomparable Emily Spadoni, SCOTUSblog (Nov. 16, 2012, 9:57 AM),