Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Wil Schroder of Ft. Mitchel announced today that he has retired and resigned immediately from the bench. It has been reported that he is battling a medical condition.
I would like to say something.
I have known Wil since I was in college. His brother, Bob, was an adjunct professor of business law when I was an undergraduate.
Wil operated a law practice in Covington when I was younger and many of my classmates got their start in his building.
As a district court judge we often saw each other on a variety of cases. In those days judges and lawyers had a closer relationship than today. There was more camaraderie in the bar. Their offices were more open, their calendars less crowded their approachability more inviting.
I always respected Wil for his thoughtful approach to matters. He very often saw more issues in the case than I, as a beginning lawyer, perceived.
Eventually as my family began to grow and our plans for sending them to school changed, I spent a lot of time talking to Wil about some property his family was developing in the hopes of building a home there. We spoke often about how to get that property included in the Beechwood school district.
Once Wil became a member of the Court of Appeals we saw each other less, but on the few occassions I had a case before him I always appreciated his interest in the details of my client's cause. It was a sincere interest, and a scholarly approach.
As things turned out in 2006 a vacancy on the Supreme Court was created when Justice Donald Wintersheimer retired. Wil and I competed for that open seat.
I doubt that anyone who runs for office could say that every day of a race was a wonderful experience, but in this case, as I have told many people, despite many calls for us to really "mix it up", I feel that our conduct as competitors reflected the honor and respect of our profession.
Wil and I see each other from time to time at bar events. I recently argued a case before him. And in every encounter I am happy to report that the same level of interest, the same dedication to scholarship and the same un-yielding impartiality I knew from the days so long ago when I was a young lawyer and he a district court judge, never faded.
I was with Wil many years ago on a few social occasions when his young family was working through some tough times. I knew and worked with his wife Susan in my early years as a young attorney in Campbell County, and I have watched his son, also Wil, develop an energy and commitment to the political process in Northern Kentucky reflective of his father's passion.
I know that this time will be tough for him and his family. But as one who has known him, on so many levels, I wanted to share with you how the honor and respect of Kentucky gentlemen still resides in the world where we live.
And there is no better example of that than Wil Schroder.