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March 12, 2009

Second consecutive UT Law grad earns Bristow Fellowship

Photo of Judson Littleton
Judson O. Littleton, ’08

For the second straight year, a University of Texas School of Law graduate has been chosen for one of only four year-long Bristow Fellowships at the United States Office of the Solicitor General. Judson O. Littleton, ’08, is this year’s recipient.

Littleton is currently clerking for the Honorable A. Raymond Randolph of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

He will assume his new position in the fall. As a Bristow Fellow, he will help draft briefs in opposition to petitions forcertiorari filed against the government in the Supreme Court of the United States and prepare recommendations to the solicitor general regarding authorization of government appeals in the lower courts.

The fellows also assist staff lawyers in preparing petitions for certiorari and briefs on the merits in Supreme Court cases, work on special projects, and assist the solicitor general and other lawyers in the office in the preparation of oral arguments in the Supreme Court.

Littleton succeeds Scott Keller, a 2007 UT Law graduate, who earned the fellowship last year while clerking for Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Keller will also be clerking for United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy starting in July for the October Term 2009.

“I could not be more excited about the position,” Littleton said. “It will be a great honor and a tremendous learning opportunity to work so closely with some of the top legal advocates in the country in the Solicitor General’s Office. I am very grateful to UT Law and its faculty for their overwhelming support—I would never have had a shot at this job without it. And it also says a lot about Scott’s great work that the Solicitor General’s Office was willing to hire another UT Law alum for next year.”

Littleton said he and other applicants weren’t interviewed for the position but hired solely from their applications. The Bristows are extraordinarily competitive because applicants are all top students at the top law schools who have obtained federal appellate clerkships.

Like Keller, Littleton worked extensively in UT Law’s Supreme Court Clinic during his entire third year of law school. “That was one of my favorite experiences in law school, and I learned a great deal about how advocacy before the Supreme Court works,” Littleton said. “I actually mentioned it in my cover letter as one of the primary reasons I developed a strong interest in doing Supreme Court work.”

Another UT Law grad, Brendan Crimmins,’03, was a Bristow Fellow in 2004–2005.  Crimmins, an appellate attorney in Washington, D.C., at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, has worked on the Law School’s Supreme Court Clinic with UT Law professors and clinic codirectors Michael Sturley, Lynn Blais, and David Frederick, a 1989 UT Law grad and a partner at Kellogg Huber.

“For me personally, serving as a Bristow Fellow was the most important formative experience I have had as a young lawyer,” Crimmins said. “The fellowship was an opportunity to work with first-rate lawyers on high-profile and challenging cases, and it provided an excellent transition from the academic environments of law school and my judicial clerkship to the practical world of private law practice.”

“This is wonderful news,” Frederick said. “Judd is now the second of our Supreme Court Clinic alums to earn this distinction. The Bristow Fellowship is very prestigious, akin to a Supreme Court clerkship. It’s a full year and a tremendous learning experience, which is why many Bristows subsequently get hired by justices to be law clerks at the Supreme Court.”

Such was the experience of Gregg Costa, a 1999 UT Law graduate, who worked as a Bristow Fellow in 2000–2001 and then clerked for United States Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 2001–2002. Costa is currently working in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Houston.

Frederick said that although these fellowships existed informally for some years, the program was formalized in 1993 and named after Benjamin Bristow, the first solicitor general, who served in the early 1870s after the creation of the Department of Justice. In addition to serving as Supreme Court law clerks, former Bristow Fellows have become assistants to the solicitor general, a D.C. circuit judge, associate white house counsel, law professors, and outstanding lawyers in private practice.

Related links:

Bristow Fellows, U.S. Department of Justice

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Solicitor General

Contact: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or