This Thanksgiving, five brilliant young lawyers will have something special to give thanks for. Earlier this month, they learned of their selection as the 2013 Bristow Fellows.

Bristow Fellowships, one-year fellowships in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office, go to recent law school graduates with outstanding academic records and top clerkships. They 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.

One of the newest Bristow Fellows is an Above the Law celebrity, whom many of you will recognize. Yes, that’s right — you can appear in the pages of ATL and go on to enjoy great career success in the law….

People seem to overlook the breadth of our coverage here at Above the Law. Yes, we cover lawyers who make mistakes (so our readers can learn from those mistakes). But we also cover lawyers and law students who do noble or amazing things — like rescuing a stranger from a train, apprehending a suspected criminal on the run, or going into labor during the bar exam (and passing the exam in the end).

Congratulations to the five Bristow Fellows for 2013-2014 (i.e., for October Term 2013 at the Supreme Court). We’ve listed them below, with law schools and prior clerkships noted parenthetically. Recognize any of the names?

Sarah Boyce (Duke 2012 / Sutton)

Travis Crum (Yale 2011 / Thompson (M.D. Ala.) / Tatel)

Elana Nightingale Dawson (Northwestern 2011 / Feinerman (N.D. Ill.) / Kethledge)

Will Edelman (Stanford 2011 / Boudin / Breyer (N.D. Cal.))

Ryan Snyder (Notre Dame 2012 / Kethledge)

Yes, that’s right — Elana Dawson is the recent Northwestern law grad who went into active labor during the bar exam, delivered a healthy baby boy a few hours later, and passed the Illinois bar despite the distraction. After graduating from Northwestern, she clerked for Gary Feinerman in Chicago and for Raymond Kethledge on the Sixth Circuit.

(Judge Kethledge, himself a former law clerk to Justice Kennedy, is one to watch as a feeder judge of the future. He has already sent at least two clerks into Supreme Court clerkships — one we’ve reported on already, and one that we’ll mention in our next SCOTUS clerk hiring round-up.)

Those of you who follow Bristow hiring closely might be wondering: why are there five Fellows? Aren’t there usually just four? A tipster tells us:

Originally, there were supposed to be four Bristows and one Special Assistant to the SG hired through the Honors Program. But in September, the Honors Program announced via email that DOJ was converting the Special Assistant position into a fifth Bristow Fellowship.

Regardless of how you get there, landing a Bristow Fellowship is a great accomplishment. Congrats again to these five fantastic Fellows!

UPDATE (12/19/2013, 6:30 a.m.): As it turns out, Will Edelman ultimately withdrew from the Bristow and did not end up starting as a Fellow, so what had been a class of five turned into a class of four. We’ve revised our counts on the next page accordingly.

(If you’re a legal nerd who likes to follow these things, flip to the next page to see the last few classes of Bristow Fellows, as well as aggregated data about the law schools and judges that have produced the most Bristows in recent years.)


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