Parting Thoughts: State Solicitor Allison Reardon
Allison Reardon has served since 2015 as the Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust, an office created by former state Attorney General Matt Denn. Prior to 2015, Reardon served as State Solicitor from 2012 to 2015 and recently returned to that role. She has also served as Group Leader for the Administrative Law and Education Group and Section Leader for the Government Services Unit. She has 25 years of service with the DOJ and worked in a private law firm for five years. Reardon is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Widener University School of Law.
At what point in your life did you realize you had the power of change or the power to do something meaningful?
Early in my career with the Attorney General’s Office I was involved in an appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court that ultimately upheld the rights of a child whose parents never married or lived together after the child was born to benefit from the non-custodial parent’s more affluent lifestyle in the determination of child support. As I stood in front a TV reporter explaining the significance of the decision, I knew that those of us
who worked on the case had a part in making a positive difference for all children in Delaware.
How do you want to be remembered?
I am proud to say I am the first person in my family to become an attorney and I believe I have had a pretty successful career. I would like to be remembered as a role model who demonstrated that you can accomplish things you never thought possible by working hard, giving your best effort, and respecting other people along the way.
What’s the greatest compliment you ever received?
The greatest compliment I ever received was when Beau Biden first approached me to lead the Civil Division as the State Solicitor. Although I had been a Unit leader for a number of years, moving into upper management was not something I had ever considered. Beau told me that he saw in me the leadership qualities he wanted for the Civil Division. I was honored this past year to receive the Beau Biden Legacy Award.
What lessons did you learn from your biggest success and your biggest failure?
I’ve come to realize that our biggest successes and failures in life are both learning experiences. Both are really just moments in time and it is how you react, how you implement change after that moment that matters. This is easier to remember right after a big success, but even when failure happens, I have learned that you must take the opportunity to learn how to move forward and deal with it.
When you hear the word “successful, who (or what) do you think of?
Leaving behind a body of work that you can look back on and be proud of and establishing lasting professional and personal relationships along the way. That’s the definition of success, in my opinion.
What’s the question you wish more people would ask themselves? Does this career path bring me joy?
I decided at an early age that I wanted to be an attorney and I never veered from the path. You should do what you love because you are going to be doing it for a very long time. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, you cannot inspire others to do a good job.
When you feel overwhelmed, get distracted, or lose your focus, what do you do?
When possible, I take a break. I have two small ceramic signs on the bookshelf in my office – one says “Pause” and the other says “Think.” They remind me to do just that and then get back at it.
What’s inspiring you right now?
Talking to my 17-year-old niece about colleges and her future. She came to the United States from the Philippines at age 8 when her mother married my brother. She is super-smart, funny, and definitely more poised than I was at her age. I know that she is going to accomplish great things. Maybe the next attorney
in the family!
What’s next for you?
I am going to take the first six months to just enjoy retirement (and not set an alarm clock), before thinking seriously about what’s next. I am not sure what my retirement means for my husband who is already retired and used to having the house to himself during the day. I have a lot of DIY projects in mind. I am giving him
fair warning – he may want to go back to work.
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