Second consecutive M Law grad earns Bristow Fellowship at Solicitor General’s office

For the second straight year, a Michigan Law graduate has been chosen for one of only four year-long Bristow Fellowships at the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office.

Matt Owen graduated in May 2008. Like most other Bristow selectees, Owen is currently clerking for a federal appeals judge – in Owen’s case, with Judge Neil M. Gorsuch of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver.

Once he assumes his new position this fall, Owen’s duties will include helping draft briefs in opposition to certiorari filed in the Supreme Court, and also helping make recommendations to the Solicitor General about potential appeals in lower courts. Bristow Fellows also work with staff attorneys to write briefs on the merits in Supreme Court cases and help prepare for oral argument in the Supreme Court.

Owen succeeds Shiva Nagaraj, a 2007 Michigan Law graduate, who earned the Fellowship last year.

The Fellowships are named in honor of the first U.S. Solicitor General, Benjamin H. Bristow of Kentucky. He was appointed shortly after the Civil War by President Ulysses S. Grant after serving as U.S. Attorney in his home state, where he had helped quell a tide of Ku Klux Klan violence that arose after the Civil War. He also helped break up a burgeoning trade in illegal Kentucky whiskey.

After a successful career as Solicitor General, Bristow became Treasury Secretary before retiring to private practice, where he founded one of the East Coast’s prominent law firms. He also served as president of the American Bar Association.

Today the fellowship offers a priceless opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of the appeals process, said Michigan Law Professor Adam Pritchard, who worked as a Bristow Fellow himself.

"I learned so much about how to argue a case before the Supreme Court during my year as a Bristow," Prof. Pritchard said. "The Bristow Fellowship is a great opportunity for anyone who aspires to be an appellate lawyer at the top level."