Brett Kavanaugh, Clerkships, Department of Justice, Fabulosity, Federal Government, Federal Judges, Feeder Judges, J. Harvie Wilkinson III, SCOTUS, Solicitor General's Office, Supreme Court, Supreme Court Clerks

Congratulations to the 2012 Bristow Fellows

Congratulations to the 2012 Bristow Fellows, who learned of their selection earlier this month. These one-year fellowships in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office, awarded to recent law school graduates with outstanding academic records and top clerkships, are generally regarded as second only to Supreme Court clerkships in prestige (and often lead to SCOTUS clerkships as well). You can read more about the Bristow Fellowship, including the job responsibilities and application process, on the Justice Department website.

Let’s take a look at the next crop of Bristow Fellows. Which law schools did they graduate from, and for whom did they clerk?

Also: over the past three years, which law schools and judges have minted the most Bristow Fellows?

Here are the Bristow Fellows for 2012-2013 (i.e., for October Term 2012 at the Supreme Court), with law schools and prior clerkships noted parenthetically:

Brinton Lucas (UVA / Wilkinson)
Daniel Taylor (Georgetown / Thapar / Sutton)
Julia Malkina (Yale / Kavanaugh)
Jonathan Shaub (Northwestern / Niemeyer)

Not surprisingly, all four fellows graduated from top law schools and clerked for prominent feeder judges. (Taylor also clerked for Judge Amul Roger Thapar, of the Eastern District of Kentucky.)

For ease of reference, here are the two prior classes of Bristow Fellows:


Martine Cicconi (Stanford / Garland)
Jonathan Ellis (Penn / Randolph)
Nicole Ries (Berkeley / W. Fletcher)
Eric Tung (Chicago / Gorsuch)


Matthew Nicholson (UVA / Wilkinson)
Erica Ross (Stanford / Tatel Tot)
Michele Shamblin (LSU / E. Jones)
Gerry Sinzdak (UC Berkeley / Berzon)

Because there are only four Bristow Fellows a year, compared to 36 Supreme Court clerks, one shouldn’t read too much into these stats — but for what it’s worth, Bristow Fellows for the past three years attended these law schools:

Berkeley – 2
Stanford – 2
UVA – 2

Note the success of the California schools, Berkeley and Stanford, at generating Bristows. Also note the absence from this list of such leading law schools as Harvard, Columbia, and NYU.

And here are the 12 judges who sent clerks into Bristow Fellowships over the past three years:

Wilkinson – 2
W. Fletcher
E. Jones

These are some of the most highly regarded judges in the country, whose clerkships ooze prestige from every orifice. Also note the high number of these Bristow-making judges who were once Supreme Court clerks themselves: seven out of 12 (Wilkinson, Berzon, Fletcher, Garland, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Sutton).

The virtuous cycle continues; prestige begets more prestige. Congratulations to the 2012 Bristow Fellows on their selection, and congratulations to their law schools and judges.

Earlier: Congratulations to the 2011 Bristow Fellows
Congratulations to the 2010 Bristow Fellows

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